Tuesday newsletter time: Josh Jung news not great for Rangers, but could have been worse
(AP photo/Jeff Chiu)
The news Monday afternoon from Oakland wasn’t the best-case scenario for the Rangers, but it wasn’t the worst case, either.
Josh Jung needs surgery to stabilize his left thumb and will miss six weeks. He’s proven to be quick healer the past two seasons, so maybe he gets back a tick sooner.
But the expectation is he will be back this season, likely in the back half of September but in just enough time to help the Rangers finish off their push for the postseason. Ezequiel Duran started Monday night at third base, and Josh Smith could also see time there.
The Rangers promoted Jonathan Ornelas, arguably the best defensive infielder in the organization, from Triple A Round Rock. He has a spot on the 40-man roster after being added in November to be protected from the Rule 5 draft.
The defense and the 40-man spot made him the choice over Triple A infielders Justin Foscue and Davis Wendzel. The Rangers are also going to keep an eye on Corey Seager’s right thumb, and having an extra shortstop will come in handy.
Jung, though, won’t be easy to replace. He leads all MLB rookies in home runs (22) and leads American League rookies in extra-base hits, total bases and RBIs. Don’t count him out for Rookie of the Year, especially if he is productive when he returns.
Jung is facing surgery for the third straight year after a stress fracture in his left foot in 2021 and surgery on his left shoulder in 2022. Both of those injuries occurred in spring training.
The latest injury came Sunday as a 109.4 mph line drive hit the thumb of his glove.
He’s been snake bit since turning pro. For those who think snake bit is synonymous with injury prone or in implies injury prone, you’re wrong.
The fact is that Jung is hurt, but the silver lining is that the Rangers expect him back this season.
National League roots
Manager Bruce Bochy is back in the Bay Area. It’s the East Bay for now, though the Rangers stay in San Francisco.
It’s not the first time Bochy been back as a big-league manager since leaving the Giants after the 2019 season, but this weekend will mark his return to the ballpark where he led three teams to the World Series.
Maybe he was feeling sentimental in the eighth inning, when the Rangers put the first two batters on base and Bochy called for Duran to put down a sacrifice bunt in a 3-3 game.
He did, and it worked like a charm as the Rangers won 5-3 for their seventh straight victory.
“A good job of small ball by the guys,” Bochy said.
Travis Jankowski followed the bunt with a chopper up the middle to score Ornelas, who was pinch running, and the futile throw home prevented the A’s from getting the second out. Leody Taveras followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Robbie Grossman.
The rally started with a single by Mitch Garver, who drove in the Rangers’ first two runs with a double in the fourth. He also doubled in the sixth for his first three-hit game of the season.
With Jonah Heim on the injured list, Garver is getting regular at-bats and it’s turning into offensive production.
Dane Dunning looked sharp the first two innings, similar to how he looked last week as he struck out a career-high 12 batters in 7 2/3 innings. The rest of the game, though, was a battle.
The right-hander lost some command, especially in the third as the A’s scored three times, but those were the only three run he allowed in six innings. Josh Sborz followed with a scoreless seventh for the win, but Dunning’s ability to get the game to the back of the bullpen contributed to the team’s win.
“It comes down to pitching,” Bochy said. “To me, that’s still the story. Another quality start by Dane.”
Quality starting pitching has fueled the Rangers’ seven-game winning streak, no matter how many home runs the Rangers have hit (it’s 17, by the way). Look what a quality outing by Ken Waldichuk did for the A’s. It kept them in the game until their overmatched bullpen gave it away.
“I was able to get back in the saddle and grind it out through six,” Dunning said. “I just tried throw as many strikes as I could and let the defense take it from there.”
Rangers relievers didn’t have it as easy as their three zeroes in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings looked, but Josh Sborz, Aroldis Chapman and Will Smith got the job done.
Max Scherzer is scheduled to make his second Rangers start tonight, and left-hander Jordan Montgomery is probable for Wednesday in the series finale.
More good starting pitching could be/should be ahead.
He just got up and down from the ruff. I’ll be here all week. Enjoy.
this pup loves to play golf
(jukin media) pic.twitter.com/Co2Mkn0ZIM
— theworldofdog (@theworldofdog) June 12, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org