Until a GM is hired, Ng and vice president of player development Roy Smith are handling Dodger front-office duties. Bringing back Cruz was a priority because the status of center fielder Milton Bradley is in limbo.
Cruz, 31, will be paid $2.91 million in 2006 and the deal includes a team option for 2007 at $4.5 million and a $300,000 buyout. In 47 games after being acquired from Boston on Aug. 9, he batted .301 with six home runs and 22 runs batted in.
If Bradley does not return, J.D. Drew could move to center field and Cruz could play right. The Dodgers could pursue another power-hitting outfielder through free agency or a trade, although Smith said only that the team is in the market for "a bat."
Bradley, who is rehabilitating from knee surgery, spoke to Smith at Dodger Stadium on Friday. He went on the disabled list Aug. 25, one day after ignoring a gag order from manager Jim Tracy and escalating a simmering dispute with Jeff Kent by accusing his teammate of not communicating well with African Americans.
"Milton has to get healthy, especially physically," Smith said.
The Dodgers haven't decided what to do with Bradley, who made $2.5 million last season. They could decline to offer arbitration (which would make him a free agent), trade him or sign him.
McCourt, who publicly supported Bradley through several problems on and off the field, is not inclined to bring him back, a source said. However, others in the organization want to give him another chance.