The Texas Rangers are counting on a 21-year-old kid to step into a key role this season.
After dealing away longtime second baseman Ian Kinsler in November for Prince Fielder, the Rangers are looking to super prospect Jurickson Profar to lock down the second base gig in his second season as a big-leaguer — his first as a full-time player.
But so far this spring, Profar hasn't had much luck staying healthy and his most recent problem is a little puzzling. It was announced on Thursday that Profar will be on the shelf for 3-5 days after having four impacted wisdom teeth removed. Speaking from experience, that's a painful endeavor. But it's a bit odd the Rangers waited until there's less than three weeks before Opening Day to address the situation. If they're impacted, why not take them out in January? Or even February? Not the second week in March.
Profar has yet to play second base in a Cactus League game after dealing with shoulder tendinitis that had seemingly almost run its course. Profar was set to play in the field for the first time very soon, as soon as this weekend, before the latest "injury." Add to the fact that Profar didn't play second base in winter ball, but instead played shortstop, and it's a bit concerning that your starting second baseman (a natural shortstop) is two weeks from Opening Day and has yet to play a game at second base.
The good thing for Profar, so far this spring, has been that he's found a way to hit the baseball. After struggling horribly last season in a utility role, Profar has been one of the team's best hitters this spring. Granted, spring numbers don't mean a thing, but it's still encouraging to see Profar hitting .300 with two homers and 11 RBIs — all as a designated hitter.
If Profar can get back in time to play in the field a week or so of exhibition games, you'd think he'd be ready for Opening Day. It's not like he's been out of the lineup completely, just out of the field.