Jack Leiter expects to return to Double A Frisco rotation this week
(Special to Rangers Today/Davidson Wang)
FRISCO — Jack Leiter played catch Saturday afternoon at Riders Field, his first time throwing after three days off, and said he should be ready to pitch this week during Double A Frisco’s series at San Antonio.
Leiter, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, is on the developmental list with what the Rangers said is arm fatigue. Leiter confirmed the diagnosis, but also said that it’s nothing he couldn’t have pitched through.
“If this is the MLB level and it’s the playoffs, you’re, obviously, good to go, but it’s not,” he said. “A few days does a lot, and that’s kind of what they were thinking. There’s just some fatigue and a little reset, and then get back to it.”
Frisco has an unusual week, at least relative to the minor leagues. San Antonio wanted to host a game on the Fourth of July, so the RoughRiders played on what has been an off day the past two seasons. They will be off Wednesday, which has thrown their rotation off schedule.
As such, Frisco hasn’t set a day for Leiter to return. One option would be to have him pitch an inning Sunday, as was the case with Zak Kent after he dealt with some fatigue, and then start July 16.
When Leiter does return he will do so with a 5.36 ERA in the hitter-friendly Texas League. The stuff has been there, with 60 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings, but Leiter is also navigating his way through better lineups, different travel and a different mentality than when he last pitched in college.
At Vanderbilt, where national championships are the expectation, Leiter was in win-now mode. He still wants to perform well, but he is also doing more geared toward developing into a big-league starting pitcher.
“As a competitive guy, you always want to perform, and there’s a fine balance of working on whatever needs to be worked on on the development side and then the compete side,” Leiter said. “It’s just finding that balance.”
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com