There was no mixed reaction in Nelson Cruz's return to the Texas Rangers lineup Monday. Cruz, back from a 50-game PED suspension in time for the AL wild card tiebreaker game, received a standing ovation from Rangers fans when he came to the plate in the second inning.
They chanted "Cruuuuuuuuz" — which might have been confused for boos if you didn't know better. But the fans were obviously on their feet, happy to see Cruz back. If there were boos coming from the Ranger Ballpark crowd, they were drowned out.
That's probably more circumstance than a ringing endorsement of Cruz and his character. If this weren't a do-or-die game for Texas, the hometown crowd might not have been as jacked as it was to see him.
But when you can bring back a guy who has 27 homers and 76 RBIs while missing almost a third of the season, that's something fans will be excited about. Especially with everything on the line.
In his first at-bat, however, Cruz — DHing and batting sixth — looked a bit rusty. Understandable, since he hasn't faced big-league pitching since August. He was behind on David Price's fastballs, eventually lining out to first base in a potential RBI situation.