• The Texas Rangers, who are in a race for the American League West title and, if need be, one of the two AL wild-card spots, were delivered a blow Monday when MLB handed outfielder Nelson Cruz (.269 batting average, 27 homers, 76 RBI) a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. Cruz, like the other 11 players MLB suspended for 50 games, did not appeal.
• That left the Rangers with a hole in right field, which was filled Friday with the winning waiver claim and then acquisition of Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox will absorb part of the remaining $17 million on Rios’ deal and in return receive a player to be named later or cash. Rios is hitting .277 with 12 homers and 55 RBI this season. The Rangers (66-50), tied with the A’s for the AL West lead heading into Saturday night, are four games ahead of the Indians for the second wild card.
• Last week, Jack Clark, a former St. Louis Cardinal and radio show host in St. Louis, accused Albert Pujols and Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander of using performance-enhancing drugs. Clark claimed that Pujols’ former trainer, Chris Mihlfeld, told Clark that he “shot him up,” meaning with PEDs. Pujols and Mihlfeld immediately denied the accusations, and Pujols took it one step further by threatening a lawsuit against Clark and his station, WGNU (920-AM). Clark has since been fired.
• Alex Rodriguez received a 211-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal and past transgressions. He appealed that suspension and returned to the field last week. A-Rod had a hit in each game in a series against the White Sox before a disastrous homecoming Friday. Rodriguez walked to the plate at Yankee Stadium to a loud mixture of cheers and booing and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. The boos were overwhelming following his at-bats.
• It’s been an odd love, but mostly hate relationship with A-Rod and Yankees fans in light of recent events. ESPN’s Mike Greenberg called the dynamic between Rodriguez and the Yankees organization “the most peculiar in sports history.” Per Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com, the Yankees reportedly sent Rodriguez a letter before his home debut Friday night informing him he’d be disciplined for seeking a second opinion on his quad injury in late July.
— Ryan Lewis