It is unfortunate, but true nonetheless. As is the case in everyday life, injuries are a part of baseball as well. In 2021, the Texas Rangers have been no strangers to this harsh kernel of truth. Even worse, these injuries have come to some of their most key players. With a record that currently sits at 22-30, many were expecting this team to be far deeper in the cellar than they actually are at this moment in time–thanks to these injuries. That being said, let’s take a look at the Rangers injury bug since the 2021 season began.
No Closer Closure
Both the Rangers and their fans were expecting the closer role to be occupied by right-hander Jose Leclerc this year. It was not to be, however, as Leclerc started to feel soreness in his right arm on March 22nd. That came just days after he had pitched in a spring training game against the Cincinnati Reds. This eventually led to Leclerc opting to have Tommy John surgery to repair the damage in his right elbow. It was a sad end to a promising year for the 27-year-old righty. He was definitely in the mix to land the closer spot permanently.
This was something Rangers’ manager Chris Woodward agonized over for weeks in spring training. He had some great candidates in that particular race in righties Ian Kennedy and Matt Bush. The latter also went down with an arm injury. Right-hander Jonathan Hernandez was also part of the conversation but had a similar fate as Leclerc. He also opted to have surgery, to fix his right shoulder. Like a bad breakup, there was no closure in regards to what might have been for the back of the Rangers bullpen. This was when the Rangers injury bug really began to attack.
One of the biggest moves that the Rangers made this past winter was when they made a trade with the Oakland Athletics for the power-hitting outfielder Khris Davis, appropriately nicknamed ‘Khrush’ for his ability to smash the ball over the fence, particularly against the Rangers. Davis was another one that landed on the injured list early on with a strain in his right quad. It didn’t keep him out for long, however. He made his return to the lineup in early May. So far this year, he is hitting .176 with no home runs, one RBI, and six runs scored. Needless to say, it has been a slow start for Davis, but the season is still young. The calendar has yet to flip to June.
The Rangers injury bug has struck again in recent weeks. Righty Kohei Arihara has been moved to the 60-day injured list. He had surgery on his right shoulder. He will need at least three months of recovery time before he can resume any sort of baseball activity. Furthermore, outfielder David Dahl has been placed on the 10-day injured list due to a left rib contusion that he suffered after crashing into the wall while trying to rob a home run against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. On top of that, Right-handers Hunter Wood and Kyle Gibson have also been placed on the 10-day IL. They aren’t expected to miss a lot of time though. The Rangers injury bug has bitten a lot of guys this year. Time will tell if its appetite has diminished.
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