The Texas Rangers are expecting to be without one-time closer Jose Leclerc for an extended time because of right elbow soreness, the latest setback for a bullpen already missing another key late-inning arm for at least two months.
General manager Chris Young said Monday that Leclerc reported soreness after a recent outing, and the right-hander has returned to Texas to be evaluated by team physician Dr. Keith Meister. Young said the length of Leclerc's absence will depend on the diagnosis.
Leclerc missed all but the first week of the 2020 season because of a shoulder injury that limited him to two outings. His latest setback occurred with the Rangers already planning to put Jonathan Hernandez on the 60-day injured list when the season starts. The right-hander was diagnosed during spring training with an elbow ligament sprain.
Hernandez led the Rangers with 27 appearances last season, going 5-1 with a 2.90 ERA. While the Rangers haven't specified how long Hernandez will be out, president of baseball operations Jon Daniels has said the club planned to put him on the 60-day injiured list when the season starts.
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Leclerc began the 2019 season as the closer before getting demoted after a rough first month. He had 14 saves in 2019 after recording 12 the previous season.
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