NEW YORK —
Baseball has considered suspending him for violations of its labor contract and drug agreement, which would cause him to start serving his penalty before the case would go to arbitration.
Sidelined following hip surgery in January and then a strained quadriceps, the 38-year-old third baseman hopes to return to the Yankees in a few days. He is to play Friday and Saturday at Double-A Trenton, putting himself in position to rejoin New York for Monday’s series opener at the Chicago White Sox if he’s not banned.
Barring a rainout this weekend, Cruz’s Rangers would have exactly 50 games remaining before they play at the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night. If he files a grievance, as a first offender, the penalty would be delayed until after a decision by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. But the lengthy legal process likely would risk his eligibility for the playoffs and the start of next season.
Cruz said Thursday he hadn’t made any decision about a possible appeal. Asked whether he was told specifically what penalty could be forthcoming, Cruz responded, “No, I cannot tell you. Sorry.”
Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta is the other targeted All-Star on a pennant contender, and the Tigers would have 53 games left before playing at Cleveland on Monday.
Another All-Star shortstop, San Diego’s Everth Cabrera, could serve all of a 50-game suspension this year if he begins with the Padres’ game against Baltimore on Tuesday.
Others facing discipline include injured Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and Seattle catcher Jesus Montero, who is in the minor leagues with Triple-A Tacoma.
The Miami Herald reported Thursday that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami had opened a criminal investigation into whether Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch illegally sold controlled substances to high school students. That probe has the potential to complicate baseball’s disciplinary cases if Bosch’s lawyers advise him not to participate in MLB grievance hearings, where the commissioner’s office presumably would call him to testify and authenticate documents.
AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins and freelance writer Mark Didtler contributed to this report.