Monday newsletter time: Josh Smith, Jake Odorizzi and the Rangers’ wild injury luck
(AP photo/Matt Marton)
Not only did Josh Smith avoid the injured list after taking an 89-mph fastball to the face last Monday, he played Friday. Not only did he play, he started. Not only did he start, he contributed over the weekend at Wrigley Field.
Must be all that clean living.
The Rangers had fairly recent experience with a left-handed hitter taking a fastball to the grill. Willie Calhoun was hit by a 95-mph heater in the spring of 2020, before COVID shut down camp, and he was never the same after what appeared to be a breakthrough 2019 season.
Calhoun had a broken jaw and underwent surgery. He would have missed a couple months if not for COVID delaying that season.
Smith got six stitches.
But the Rangers did have some unfortunate injury news last week.
Right-hander Jake Odorizzi won’t pitch this season after having his shoulder cleaned up. The original diagnosis was arm fatigue that would never go away and led to a deeper dive into why things weren’t getting better.
Odorizzi, who was acquired in a November trade with Atlanta for left-hander Kolby Allard, might never pitch for the Rangers as he is on an expiring contract. His injury takes a bite out of the Rangers’ starting depth, as Odorizzi was expected to be the first man up if a starter went down.
Dane Dunning and Cole Ragans have assumed that role now, with some unproven pitchers at Triple A Round Rock — Cole Winn, Zak Kent and Cody Bradford — more firmly in the mix.
Glenn Otto will be in the mix when he returns in late May from a shoulder injury.
Bubba Thompson did not start in the Rangers’ first eight games of the season, and he’d had only three at-bats.
That changed Sunday, when Thompson was the key cog in an 8-2 victory over the Cubs that prevented a three-game sweep.
Thompson legged out a fielder’s choice, doubled and tripled, finishing the day 2 for 4 with two RBIs. He also scored twice.
This isn’t grandstanding for Thompson to become the starting center fielder. He does need more at-bats, though.
It would be fun to see him try to take advantage of the new rules that should make life easier on base stealers. His speed was on display Sunday.
It would be nice to see if he improved upon the things he worked on all offseason and spring.
It’s going to be hard to do that with seven at-bats every nine games.
Rangers Today gets back on track this week. We weren’t off track last week, writing every day, but it was a unique week to say the least. The good news is the Rangers are home for three days and then off to Houston for what should be an interesting early-season test. Until then, take a look back at our latest content in case you missed it.
The Sunday Read: Way-too-early trends
Friday on the Farm: Alex Speas gets mind right
Good boy did nothing wrong. Enjoy.
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