When spring training begins for the Texas Rangers next week, there won't be many players in camp with more eyes on him than Jurickson Profar.
The former top prospect in all of baseball has missed the past two seasons with a nagging shoulder injury that finally required surgery after rest and relaxation didn't fix the problem, forcing him to miss a second season.
At just 23 years old, Profar is still a young pup and could still have a very bright future for the Rangers, who don't want to mess around with throwing him back into the fire too quickly or too soon.
"Jurickson hasn't played in some time now, so making sure he can get back into baseball shape is key," general manager Jon Daniels told the Dallas Morning News. "Being on his feet each day; wear and tear on his body is going to be something we want to see during Spring Training. We won't do anything to jeopardize his long term health after all the work he's put in to get back. But it's exciting to have him back out there and able to compete."
Profar is no where near ready to be in the majors when the season begins, and in an ideal world, he'd probably play the entire season at Triple-A Round Rock, but it's good to know if he can be healthy and regain his talent and swagger, he'd provide some solid depth this season in case there were injuries to either Rougned Odor or Elvis Andrus, and the Rangers have even been on record saying they'd be willing to try him in left field again.
"I just want to play," Profar said during a recent Rangers mini-camp in DFW. "I know by playing, it's going to take care of itself. I know I can play baseball. Now that I'm healthy and everything is good, everybody is going to see me."