ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have already gone without star shortstop Corey Seager for a month this season, and they will have to go a couple more weeks once again.
Seager landed on the 10-day injured list for the second time in 2023, this time with a right thumb sprain, the club announced before a 16-3 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday. He was removed from Friday night’s loss to the Dodgers in the eighth inning after jamming his thumb on a slide into second base.
“It was painful,” Seager said. “It’s just unfortunate. … Obviously, you don't want anything too bad, and it could have [been] a lot worse than it was.”
The X-rays were negative on Friday, and the MRI on Saturday showed no structural damage, so Seager should only need around the full 10 days to let the inflammation subside. The only other hand injury Seager has suffered in his big league career was a metacarpal fracture in his right hand in 2021 with the Dodgers.
“I'm sore and I'm swollen, but it's kind of to be expected,” Seager said. “Sorry, I don't have any answers because I don't know where I'm at. So we'll kind of see as it goes.”
This season, Seager is hitting .350 with 15 home runs, 58 RBIs and a 1.044 OPS in 66 games while ranking among AL leaders in doubles (T-2nd, 29), extra-base hits (5th, 44) and RBIs (T-13th). He missed 31 games from April 12-May 17 with a left hamstring strain, but hadn’t missed a step since returning. In 55 games since coming off the IL, Seager slashed .348/.402/.647 with 14 home runs, 25 doubles and 54 RBIs.
But the Rangers should once again be in good hands without him.
Without Seager the first time around, the Rangers went 19-13 and the offense thrived.
Texas’ lineup was one of the best in MLB over that span, slashing .271/.342/.450 with a 119 wRC+ as a team. Their 200 runs were the most in MLB during that time period.
“Look, I'll say this a lot -- when something like this happens, you have no choice but to move on,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “That's what we'll do, and we've had to do it before, so we know we can. It's obvious we’re gonna miss Corey. I mean, this guy, what a great player he is.
“So I think we got the best of the news that we could get about his situation. It's going to be a little time, but not like it could have been, so I'll take the news that we got. I consider that good news. When I first heard about it, I was really concerned, but it was good news.”
And they should be set at the shortstop position as well.
In Seager’s absence earlier this season, utilityman Ezequiel Duran started the bulk of the games at shortstop. In 29 games (26 starts) when Seager was on the IL, Duran slashed .303/.339/.532 with six home runs and 21 RBIs. Duran started at shortstop on Saturday for the second game against the Dodgers.
Duran went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in Saturday’s loss.
“It really sucks with Corey going down, but at the same time, he went down earlier in the year and the team stepped up,” said starter Dane Dunning, who gave up five runs in three innings. “I feel like our team is competitive enough and talented enough to be able to do that again. Obviously, it hurts us a little bit with Corey going down, but Zeke has been a phenomenal, phenomenal hitter at the plate and he's a great defender as well. So we just kind of keep moving forward and wipe these last two days away and just go from there.”
Bochy added that he expects to construct his lineup similarly to how he did when Seager was out the first time, and he’s encouraged by how the entire team responded.
“It's a great message to the club with how well they played when he went down before,” Bochy said. “It shows that it's not always just one player. It’s nine guys, and these guys really showed a lot of resolve last time it happened and it’s what we have to do now. You have no choice. So here we are.”