Nelson Cruz’s Return for Wild Card Play-in Game Means Nothing for Ron Washington’s Job
The Texas Rangers announced on Monday that Nelson Cruz will return to their lineup after a 50-game suspicion for his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic and then lying about it. The Rangers are hosting a Wild Card play-in game — technically a 163rd regular season game — against the Tampa Bay Rays for the final playoff spot in the American League. Many are speculating that Cruz’s return, which overrides any and all moral efforts by the Rangers, suggests that Texas manager Ron Washington‘s job is on the line. However, that’s simply not true.
The Rangers are following the Detroit Tigers‘ example after the AL Central champs reinstated Jhonny Peralta for the ALDS after his Biogenesis-related suspension. Considering Texas was bounced in the Wild Card round by the Baltimore Orioles last season and the team is now playing an extra game to remain in playoff content, rumors are floating around that Washington will be fired if the Rangers lose to the Rays. But that would be an unfair and unwise move by the Rangers.
Washington was without two of his top pitchers for the majority of the season as Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison were both originally expected back this year, but were shut down for surgery after rehab attempts stalled. Thus, Washington has had to muster as much as possible from the rest of his staff, which included a trade for Matt Garza, although the jury is still out on the success of that deal.
Martin Perez is starting for Texas on Monday night, which means Washington isn’t afraid to take a risk in this do-or-die contest. That alone should suggest he’s not worried about his job security, which was recently verified by Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. Now whether or not Cruz should be allowed to play is a different story, but his status doesn’t affect Washington’s at all.
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