Monday newsletter time: Garver needs surgery to catch again. There’s no sense in waiting much longer
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Mitch Garver isn’t having much fun this season.
He loves to catch. It’s who he is.
For the past seven weeks, though, he’s been unable to catch because of a strained right flexor muscle strain. He can swing and has been serving as the Rangers’ designated hitter when healthy, but even swinging causes some pain.
That’s been heightened since he returned from the COVID IL last week. The ramp-up to returning has caused swelling, which he is treating with anti-inflammatories.
The only way the arm is going to get healthy enough for him to catch again is to have surgery, which would end his season and require a rehab period of six to eight months. He isn’t particularly interested in only hitting to start the 2023 season.
His only option is surgery, and he shouldn’t delay the inevitable much longer.
“It’s not ideal,” Garver said. “It’s not really a big secret at this point. The arm’s not good, but we’re trying to do the best we can to manage it.”
He might be willing to give it a go only until the All-Star break. A mid-July operation would give him time to recover fully for Opening Day 2023 and afford him some leeway in case of a setback.
With Garver able to only DH, manager Chris Woodward loses roster flexibility. If he wants to give a regular a day at DH for some rest, he has to sit Garver.
Garver’s return also prompted the Rangers to send Sam Huff to Triple A Round Rock for regular at-bats he would be unable to get with Garver on the roster.. Huff hit some runs Friday and Saturday and collected three hits Sunday.
Huff would be an offensive upgrade over Meibrys Viloria.
Garver said he might consider delaying if the Rangers can establish themselves as contenders and if he can improve upon his .201 average. He isn’t going to blame his injury for him not hitting well, but it is affecting him.
Being a DH might be affecting him just as much.
“It sucks not being able to catch,” Garver said. “It’s not who I am. I’m not a DH. It’s like a big part of who I am is missing as a player when I can’t go out there and do what I want to do, do what I’m good at.”
Vote of confidence
Unsaid Sunday in the morning media session with Woodward is that the demotion of Ezequiel Duran was a vote of confidence for center fielder Leody Taveras.
The Rangers would have been covered in the outfield with the addition of Steven Duggar, who hit the active roster Sunday.
Taveras is batting .241 with six singles and a double in 29 at-bats. His defense has been exactly what the Rangers thought it would be, well above average. He has made a few miscues on the bases, but nothing that isn’t easy to correct.
He needs a longer trial run than 20-something at-bats. The Rangers’ company line is they don’t want Taveras to go back to the minors again.
If he needs to, though, his replacement could be Duran.
The Rangers want Duran to play center field at Triple A Round Rock. That would allow him to make an easier transition to a corner outfield, or he might end up being a serviceable center fielder who could play there regularly.
For now, though, the Rangers want their center fielder of the present and the future to be Taveras.
That’s why he wasn’t moved out when Duggar arrived.
Good things continue to happen at Rangers Today, where it feels like everyone has settled into a groove after some initial issues transferring accounts from Substack and getting renewals lined up again. If you were a monthly subscriber who missed the chance to renew, you’ve been busted down to free only but can very easily sign up again.
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The Sunday Read: Draft prep in home stretch
Friday on the Farm: One year later for Cole Ragans
Rangers farm report: Josh Jung is swinging
A look of sheer terror. Enjoy. See you Tuesday.
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