Major League Baseball starts a week from today. The Texas Rangers will not be ready.
In case you’ve lost track it’s been a sour spring in the Arizona desert.
Neftali Feliz has hit only 92 mph with his fastball and lost the closer’s job to Joakim Soria. Elvis Andrus still isn’t healthy enough to make throws from shortstop. Alexi Ogando failed to win a spot in the rotation and will be moved back to the bullpen. Tanner Scheppers is being forced to be the No. 3 starter, while back-end candidates Joe Saunders and Tommy Hanson gave up a combined 16 runs in their starts over the weekend. Opening Day starter Yu Darvish missed his last start with a stiff neck.
And then there’s Jurickson Profar.
The 21-year-old star-studded prospect arrived at Spring Training as the everyday second baseman. But he showed up with a sore shoulder from lifting weights, and didn’t play the infield until just last week. He also missed a game after surgery on his wisdom teeth. But the worst, most significant news of Rangers’ camp reared its ugly head on Sunday when the team announced that Profar has suffered a muscle tear in his throwing shoulder and will be out 10-12 weeks, or until at least early June.
Profar suffered the injury Saturday with a late, awkward relay throw of an attempted double-play against the Royals. It’s now a torn muscle that has dampened enthusiasm and left the front office scrambling.
How do the Rangers stay afloat without Profar?
The easiest answer is internally, though none of these options own even half the sizzle or potential as Profar:
Barring a trade for a proven veteran (Mark Ellis might be available from the Cardinals), I expect some sort of platoon in his absence. Journeymen Josh Wilson and Adam Rosales are in camp, as are prospects like Kensuke Tanaka and Rougned Odor.
The Rangers aren’t sure how to replace Profar.
But one thing is certain. Somewhere Ian Kinsler is grinning ear to ear.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.