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Notes: Mathis, Chavez injuries; Allard cut

@Sullivan_Ranger
March 11, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There is a possibility that both catcher Jeff Mathis and pitcher Jesse Chavez will not be ready for Opening Day. News of their injuries, roster moves involving top Minor League players and a suspension for injured pitcher Yohander Méndez were all part of a busy, rain-soaked Wednesday

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There is a possibility that both catcher Jeff Mathis and pitcher Jesse Chavez will not be ready for Opening Day.

News of their injuries, roster moves involving top Minor League players and a suspension for injured pitcher Yohander Méndez were all part of a busy, rain-soaked Wednesday morning in Rangers camp.

The day ended with the Cactus League game being called after five innings, a 6-4 loss for the Rangers against the Giants.

The details on the injured players:

Mathis: The 36-year-old suffered a pulled left hamstring during one of his at-bats against the White Sox on Tuesday. He has had an MRI, and the Rangers have yet to get the results.

Mathis is the second Rangers catcher to go down this spring. Catcher Jose Trevino is sidelined with a hairline fracture on his right index finger. Trevino is expected to be re-examined on Monday, but both catchers are questionable for the start of the season.

That could leave an opening for one of the non-roster invitees in camp: Blake Swihart, Nick Ciuffo or Tim Federowicz.

Chavez: Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the 36-year-old right-hander is not going to be ready for the start of the season. Chavez had elbow surgery on Aug. 13 to remove a bone chip and wasn’t able to completely build up his arm in the offseason. He has been dealing with some shoulder weakness in Spring Training and needs more time to prepare for the season.

“We are not going to rush it,” Daniels said. “We are going to give him a couple of weeks to build up his strength before we get him back on a mound. The end of April would be a positive outcome to have him back in games.”

Méndez: He was placed on the suspended list for violation of his contract by seeking unauthorized outside medical care. Daniels offered no more details. Méndez has been sidelined since the beginning of camp because of left shoulder inflammation. He will remain at the Rangers’ complex to continue his rehab work.

Willie Calhoun: The Rangers are expecting Calhoun to be discharged from the hospital and be back in camp as early as Friday. He is expected to start the season on the injured list with a fractured jaw, and he has not completed the concussion protocol.

But the Rangers remain encouraged by the progress he is making after being hit in the mouth by a 95 mph fastball on Sunday.

“He is in good spirits and seems to be in a good spot physically and mentally,” Daniels said.

Allard among roster cuts
Left-handed reliever Kolby Allard, 22, was among the Rangers’ roster moves Wednesday. He was optioned to Triple-A Nashville, along with 23-year-old right-hander Demarcus Evans.

Infielder Sherten Apostel and outfielder Leody Taveras were optioned to Double-A Frisco. The Rangers also assigned non-roster pitchers Joe Barlow, James Jones and Brian Flynn to Minor League camp.

Allard was 4-2 with a 4.96 ERA in nine starts last season and is in position to be the Rangers’ best option should a need arise for a No. 6 starter.

“If something happens to any of our other starters, I’m not saying he’s 100 percent first in line, but he is right at the top,” manager Chris Woodward said. “He’s pitched really well. We like where he is at; he likes where he is at. He just has to be ready.”

Kluber throws sim game
Light rain did not keep right-hander Corey Kluber from throwing his simulated game on a back field Wednesday morning. Kluber, facing Minor League hitters, went 5 1/3 innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits and a walk with eight strikeouts.

First baseman Blaine Crim, who was the Northwest League Most Valuable Player last season, had a home run off Kluber.

“Obviously, the goal was to get the workload built up, get five innings and 85 pitches,” Kluber said. “Got that. On top of that, just trying to go out there and continue to fine-tune things and keep moving in the right direction toward Opening Day.”

Noteworthy
• Left-hander Joe Palumbo, who has been dealing with a sore right heel, started the Cactus League game vs. the Giants instead of pitching the simulated game with Kluber. He allowed four runs in two innings.

• Right-hander Luke Farrell pitched an inning in relief and retired three hitters, striking out two. He has not allowed a run in 7 2/3 innings this spring.

• First baseman Sam Travis hit a two-run home run on Wednesday and is 7-for-15 in Cactus League games after getting a slow start because of a strained right hamstring.

Up next
The Rangers are off on Thursday. Right-hander Kyle Gibson will start against the Royals at 8:05 p.m. CT on Friday at Surprise, available on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio. Gibson has not allowed a run over five Cactus League innings. He has allowed two hits and two walks while striking out three. Allard will pitch a split-squad game against the Athletics at 9:05 p.m. Friday in Mesa on Gameday Audio.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.