ARLINGTON, Texas — With a chance to get back to the postseason for the fourth year in a row, the Rangers will get back RF Nelson Cruz.
The All-Star slugger on Sunday completed his 50-game suspension that followed Major League Baseball's investigation of the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic, which was accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
GM Jon Daniels said Cruz, who has been playing in the instructional league in Arizona the past two weeks, will be activated for tonight's AL wild-card tiebreaker against the Rays.
"I'll have a chance (today) to be with me teammates and do the thing I love the most, play baseball," Cruz said. "The guys are excited. I'm excited."
Asked whether he expected to play tonight, Cruz responded, "I think so."
That didn't seem to faze the Rays.
"He's served his suspension," 3B Evan Longoria said. "It is what it is. Justice has been served."
FATHER'S APPEAL: The father of a Dodgers fan stabbed to death after a Giants game last week made a public plea for independent witnesses to contact authorities. Robert Preece said he believes bystanders used mobile devices to record a fight that ended with the death of his 24-year-old son, Jonathan Denver. Michael Montgomery, 21, was arrested but released Friday after San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said police had insufficient evidence to charge him in the death of Denver.
HOMEFIELD FOR CARDS: The Cardinals clinched homefield advantage throughout the National League playoffs when they beat the Cubs 4-0 to finish 97-65.
PENCE DEAL: Hunter Pence and the Giants finalized a $90 million, five-year contract, a deal that keeps the outfielder off the free-agent market. "I realized how intelligent this organization is," said Pence, 30. "They want to win. I'm extremely happy."
A-ROD SAGA: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez gets to start arguing his case today. In a hearing room before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, lawyers for the three-time MVP will argue why the 211-game suspension imposed by Major League Baseball on Aug. 5 should be overturned.
FRONT OFFICE SHUFFLE: Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria promoted Michael Hill to president of baseball operations, completing the franchise's latest shakeup. Another executive, Dan Jennings, was promoted to replace Hill as GM. Hill replaced Larry Beinfest, fired Friday after 12 years with the team.
QUICK DECISION: Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who wrapped up his sixth season with the team at the end of a three-year deal, said he wants to discuss his future with his wife and three school-aged children. "It's not my personality to drag things out," Girardi said.
METS HONOR PIAZZA: Mike Piazza was inducted into the Mets' Hall of Fame during a 30-minute ceremony at Citi Field.
ASTROS: The team broke the major-league record for strikeouts by batters, finishing with 1,530, one more than the Diamondbacks in 2010.
DODGERS: CF Matt Kemp, who returned from a severe left ankle sprain Sept. 16, was scratched for a second straight game because of a flareup.
RED SOX: RHP John Lackey was scratched from his scheduled start to get some rest before the postseason.