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Monday newsletter time: Rangers’ perfect homestand spoiled by Josh Jung injury

(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)

 

 

The Rangers have won six straight games, sweeping two straight series at Globe Life Field, and an American League West lead that was a half-game a week ago as grown back to a not-as-narrow 2 1/2 games over the Astros.

Next up is a road trip to the Bay Area that starts with three games against the dreadful Oakland A’s.

Andrew Heaney appears to have found something on the mound, and the Rangers socked 17 home runs during their six-game homestand.

All of that good took a sudden back seat Sunday afternoon to word that Josh Jung has a broken left thumb and is out indefinitely. He could miss the rest of the season.

The All-Star third baseman will be evaluated today by a specialist. The hope is that he avoids surgery and is back by Labor Day. Failing that, the hope then becomes that he is able to return in late September as the Rangers are gearing up for a potential postseason run.

Jung was injured in the sixth inning when a 109.4 mph line drive hit off the thumb of his glove. He stayed with the play and turned a double play, but he left the game and didn’t return.

X-rays showed a fracture, manager Bruce Bochy said, and the Rangers reportedly will promote infielder Jonathan Ornelas from Triple A Round Rock. Ornelas has a spot on the 40-man roster and would be the choice over, presumably, fellow Triple A infielders Justin Foscue and Davis Wendzel.

Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith will likely be the first choice at third base, with Ornelas serving as a backup.

Keep in mind that Corey Seager isn’t out of the woods yet with his sprained right thumb. He was off Sunday to give it a rest after four straight games since coming off the injured list. It was sore, and Bochy said Seager might get another day off tonight.

The Rangers weren’t lacking for offense without him Sunday. Nate Lowe, Marcus Semien and Adolis Garcia hit home runs as the Rangers finished off a sweep of the Marlins.

The A’s are 32-80 but are riding a two-game winning streak. The Rangers, meanwhile, are back to 20 games over .500 (66-46), but will be holding their breath on Jung.

Good news

Not all injury news over the weekend was bad news.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (forearm) played light catch Friday and dialed up the intensity Saturday, throwing on flat ground. He exited both sessions with no pain and said that his arm just needs to be built up again.

Bochy said that could take around two or three weeks, and he would be open to letting Eovaldi finish his build up in games. It would be like spring training, when pitchers work one more inning than the previous outing.

With Martin Perez in the bullpen and likely to be joined by another, the Rangers could let Eovaldi return able to throw three innings and build from there.

The other key player on the IL is catcher Jonah Heim, who played catch Saturday and didn’t feel any discomfort. He will need to catch more velocity than just playing catch, but Bochy said that Heim was encouraged.

He will also start taking dry swings this week in Oakland. The Rangers said that the switch-hitting Heim will hit only from the left side initially after he returns. It seems like his return will be sooner than later.

Fallen Angels

The Angels streaked into the trade deadline, winning 8 of 9 and giving owner Arte Moreno the excuse he needed to not trade MVP front-runner Shohei Ohtani. The Angels were having success without Mike Trout, Brandon Drury and Anthony Rendon.

It wasn’t going to last, and the correction is happening. The Angels have lost six straight games after a four-game sweep at home to the Mariners and are 7 1/2 games out in the wild-card standings.

If the current continues, the Angels will have traded away two of their top three prospects, plus a few others, and will receive only one draft pick after the second round as draft-pick compensation when Ohtani inevitably signs elsewhere.

The Mariners, meanwhile, have played themselves back into the wild-card race. They are 2 1/2 games out of the last spot and six games behind the Rangers in the AL West.

ICYMI …

The news continues to pile up with the Rangers, and not all of it is good. The good news is that Rangers Today covers it all and throws in weekly features to boot. Sign up for full access here so that you don’t miss a thing over the final two months of the regular season and into the postseason. Here’s some of our latest work (and a couple other things), in case you missed it.

The Sunday Read: Maddux dishes on newcomers

Friday on the Farm: Kicking butt in July

Max the competitor, talker

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Rangers Today Baseball Podcast YouTube channel

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Mondays, man. Enjoy.

 

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

 

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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3 Comments

  1. Charles Neeley August 7, 2023

    In context, thanks to an extra run in the bottom of the 8th Saturday, Smitty didn’t get a blown save. Give him a save. Give him a pat on the back. His ERA in that game was 18.00. I don’t expect the Rangers to be bringing home any hardware with Smitty pitching in the 9th (unless maybe to one batter who likes to chase low pitches). His stuff isn’t going to cut it in the post season. Dusty Baker knew that last year. Nothing against the guy, but 2011 is forever seared into my brain. Let me repeat, SEARED INTO MY BRAIN. WE CAN’T let that happen again for the same reason.

    Reply
    1. deGrom Texas Ranger August 8, 2023

      They didn’t get Hader or Bednar, so would you prefer Chapman over him? Smith at least has a career record of being consistently above average.

      Reply
      1. Jeff Wilson August 8, 2023

        I agree you’ve got to have power stuff in the postseason, but the Smith slider is a power pitch. According to the broadcast Monday night, Smith’s slider has the lowest average against it out of more than 100 MLB pitchers. Yu Darvish the highest average against.

        Reply

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