ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Danny Santana underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn ligament in his right elbow and he is expected to be sidelined for seven to eight months.
Santana underwent a procedure known as UCL repair and augmentation with an internal brace. The surgery involves using a brace to repair the ligament rather than a human tendon as with the Tommy John surgery.
The hope is that this procedure will significantly reduce the recovery time. If all goes well, Santana could be ready by late March.
Santana was the Rangers' Player of the Year in 2019, hitting .283 with 28 home runs, 81 RBIs and a .534 slugging percentage. Texas expected him to be its Opening Day center fielder and his absence has been a significant setback for the Rangers' offense this season.
Now, he faces an uncertain future as the organization looks at younger players over the final three weeks of the season.
“He is going to have to earn it back,” manager Chris Woodward said. “That’s just the way this game goes. He’ll get every opportunity to do that if he is healthy enough and ready to roll. But he is definitely going to have to earn that.”
Santana is eligible for arbitration this winter and he can be a free agent after the 2021 season. The Rangers will have to decide if they want to non-tender him this winter and let him test free agency. Another possibility is non-tendering him and re-signing him to a Minor League contract.
Odor activated, Choo goes on IL
Second baseman Rougned Odor was activated off the injured list on Wednesday and was in the starting lineup against the Angels. Odor went on the IL with a right eye infection after hitting .150/.198/.288 through 22 games.
He is no longer guaranteed an everyday spot in the lineup.
“He’s got to earn his playing time,” Woodward said. “I know he hasn’t swung the bat as well as he would like this year. He has put a lot of work in, but we need to see a lot more consistency. We have been saying that all along. He is not going to play every day, but if he starts to hit and earns some playing time, he’ll earn more.”
To make room on the active roster, Shin-Soo Choo was placed on the IL with a sprained right wrist. Choo sustained the injury in Monday’s loss to the Mariners and he wasn’t going to be ready by the four-game series this weekend against the Athletics.
Choo is still determined to play again this season and Woodward said he will get back in the lineup once he is ready to play.
“I never want to think about finishing the season with an injury,” Choo said. “That is important. Nobody else may not care about it, but just for myself, I don’t want to finish the season with an injury.”
• The Rangers have not announced a starter for the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Athletics, but Woodward said left-hander Wes Benjamin will pitch. Benjamin may start or he could follow a right-handed opener.
• Catching coordinator Hector Ortiz wore No. 21 on Wednesday in honor of Roberto Clemente. Ortiz is a native of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Choo and shortstop Elvis Andrus also wore No. 21 in celebration of Roberto Clemente Day throughout baseball.
• Andrus hit a solo home run in Tuesday’s 7-1 win over the Angels. Each of Texas' last 17 home runs have come with nobody on base, the longest such streak in club history.