ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Suspended outfielder Nelson Cruz continues to work out in Surprise, Ariz., at instructional leagues as the Rangers desperately miss his bat.
Whether he'll play again for the Rangers -- if they make the playoffs -- has still not been determined, at least publicly. The Rangers have to turn around a seven-game losing streak starting Tuesday night against Tampa Bay, and Cruz has to get game-ready.
“He has been working out in the outfield, hitting and doing baserunning drills,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “I don’t know if he’ll be in every game. We’ve got a lot of guys who need work, but he’ll get at-bats so he can be ready as an option. Then we’ll make a decision.”
The Rangers sure could use Cruz in the lineup. He had a team-best 27 home runs and 76 RBIs when he was suspended for 50 games Aug. 5. He's still second on the team in home runs, one behind Adrian Beltre.
The Rangers have gone seven consecutive games without a long ball.
On the homer drought: The Rangers' homerless streak is their longest in 23-plus years. They went eight games without a long ball from Aug. 10-17, 1990.
The Rangers enter Tuesday night's game going 269 at-bats and 297 plate appearances without a home run; the team's last HR was Alex Rios' solo shot off the Angels' Jason Vargas in the first inning on Sept. 8.
Short hops: The Rangers' rotation in September has a 1-12 record with a 5.99 ERA entering Tuesday's game. It's the second-highest starters' ERA in the major leagues in the month. ... Derek Holland has been charged with two more earned runs after a scoring change was made in the Rangers' game Sept. 7 in Anaheim. J.B. Shuck hit a soft grounder that Holland fielded and threw away down the right-field line for a two-base error. The call was changed by Joe Torre, MLB executive vice president of baseball operations, to a single with an error on Holland to advance Shuck to second base.