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Markakis plans to welcome Cruz with open arms

Markakis plans to welcome Cruz with open arms

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis, who has been a vocal advocate for stricter penalties for performance-enhancing drug users, said Saturday the organization's addition of Nelson Cruz -- who was suspended last season for his role in the Biogenesis scandal -- doesn't change his opinion.

But Markakis, the team's longest-tenured player and a quiet leader in the clubhouse, will put aside his personal feelings on the matter and plans on welcoming Cruz to the Orioles.

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"He's my teammate now and I got to be a teammate, and no matter if you disagree or agree with your teammates, they are still your teammates," said Markakis, who has called PED users out for "stealing" money. "He's going to be welcome here and we are going to play as one. That's for sure."

Markakis didn't think there would be any ill-will among the other players when Cruz, who is slated to arrive Saturday night, joins the clubhouse. Chris Davis, who has also been vocal about PED users and maintains that the home run record is 61, played with Cruz in Texas.

"We know how things go on in this clubhouse, we know how we do things and we do things certain ways," Markakis said. "Guys coming in here are going to have to adjust to that. It's not just about making adjustments in the batter's box and on the pitcher's mound, it's making adjustments to a new clubhouse, a new team, and so forth. There's adjustments, not just on the field but off the field, too.

"I'm aware of what's going on and what's been going on in baseball, but my opinion doesn't change toward anything. He's part of this team now and he's going to be in this clubhouse and we're going to welcome him just like anybody else. He's going to be part of this team."

Speaking hypothetically until the organization officially announces the deal, manager Buck Showalter said the front office and coaching staff have done their homework on researching guys before they bring them in.

"Obviously there aren't isolated cases, so it is something I've thought about," Showalter said. "I think every case, you can't throw a blanket over all of them, but we have a tendency to. I'll have a good answer for you if that happens. … It is something that every manager and coach and potential teammate thinks about."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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