Rangers notes: Jon Gray gets good news as concern shifts to Mitch Garver
(AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
ARLINGTON — Jon Gray fully expects to make his next start this weekend despite leaving his outing Monday with soreness in his left knee, but he won’t be throwing to catcher Mitch Garver.
Garver landed on the 10-day injured list Tuesday with a sprained flexor tendon, general manager Jon Daniels said, and might be limited to designated hitter upon his return. Sam Huff was recalled from Triple A Round Rock to serve as the backup to Jonah Heim.
Daniels said that Garver played through discomfort, mostly while throwing, on the last road trip to Philadelphia and New York. The Rangers are hoping they are being proactive with the injury and that it cools down before becoming the kind of injury that has sidelined many players for extended stretches.
“He was feeling it coming out of Philadelphia after he caught,” Daniels said. “Probably about a week from now, if things go well, he’ll probably start hitting and we’ll go from there.”
Pitchers who need surgery to repair flexor tendons can miss as much as nine months, though a hitter can return in half the time. Left-hander Clayton Kershaw was diagnosed with a strained flexor tendon in October but started last month in the first week of the season.
There is no indication that Garver needs surgery, with the hope that medication and rest jump-start the healing process. The Rangers are willing to carry Heim, Huff and Garver on the roster if he is only able to hit for an extended stretch.
Gray, the Rangers’ Opening Day starter, said that his left knee felt as good Tuesday morning as it did Monday morning before he felt something amiss in the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium.
The right-hander left the game after 4 1/3 innings and 77 pitches, but did so without needing any assistance and without a limp. He will continue to wear a rather bulky knee brace for the foreseeable future
“I don’t think I reinjured it or anything. I think I just made it bark a little bit bouncing off the mound,” said Gray, who signed a four-year, $56 million deal in the offseason. “It’s probably a good thing I got out of there. I didn’t make anything worse.”
Manager Chris Woodward said that the Rangers could alter the rotation by having left-hander Martin Perez jump ahead of Gray in the rotation so that the knee can get an extra day.
The Rangers had not selected their Wednesday starter as of Tuesday afternoon. However, lefty Kolby Allard is part of the Rangers’ taxi squad for this series and worked out Tuesday at Globe Life Field.
Relievers getting closer
Right-handers Joe Leclerc and Jonathan Hernandez, who underwent Tommy John surgery in spring training of 2021, are close to pitching in extended spring games and should start rehab assignments later this month.
Leclerc is slightly ahead of Hernandez, and said in early April that the Rangers had him penciled in for a return to their roster in early June.
Woodward said that the relievers, who are on the 60-day IL, will slide into prominent roles in a bullpen that entered Tuesday with a 1.95 ERA over the past 17 games.
“They’re executing,” Woodward said. “That’s the biggest thing.”
The return of Leclerc and Hernandez will force some relievers who are pitching well now to go to Triple A. Both, though, must be able to pitch frequently and even in back-to-back games before they are reinstated.
“We’re trying to make sure when we get them they are past some of the critical elements of a bullpen guy,” Woodward said. “We can’t have a guy that if he pitches he needs three days off. That’s not functional for a big-league bullpen.”
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com