General manager Chris Young on Tuesday brought the first bad news of the spring for the Rangers -- a low-grade UCL strain for pitcher Jonathan Hernández. He will be shut down for at least the next four weeks, Young said.
Rest is the prescribed treatment plan thus far, and the club isn't expecting Hernández to need surgery, but he is being monitored day to day.
“The good news on him is that this is [an injury] that normally recovers or responds well with some rest. We will reevaluate [after four weeks], and hopefully at that point we'll see enough healing that we can begin a throwing program.”
Losing Hernández is a big blow to the Rangers' bullpen. He was a vital part of the staff in 2020 -- when he pitched 31 innings in the shortened season, posting a 2.90 ERA and 1.032 WHIP. The Rangers will now have to continue to rely on a group of young and unproven pitchers out of the bullpen, especially with Joely Rodríguez continuing to build arm strength.
Young is “hopeful and optimistic” that Hernández will be back at some point this season, though it may be quite a few months before he sees live action again.
“Jonathan is obviously one we were counting on, and this one hurts a little bit,” Young said. “We have a very good medical staff, and we'll do everything we can to get him back out there healthy, but in the meantime we'll keep him positive and then work towards getting him back.”
• Outfielder and designated hitter Willie Calhoun is experiencing groin tightness following Monday’s game against the Cubs. Young said they are not anticipating needing an MRI for him, but they are going to be cautious with him for a few days.
“We’re going to back him off for a couple days and reevaluate three to four days after he's had time to kind of calm down,” Young said. “But as of now it was mild tightness, and I think we're comfortable that, hopefully, he'll respond to treatment and be back out in the few days after heavy treatment in the training room.”
• Young did have some good news on the injury front, including forward progressions of Sam Huff and Rodríguez. Huff, who suffered a hamstring injury at the start of camp, is now doing light baseball activity and will get another MRI at the start of next week. Rodríguez will throw his first bullpen session on Friday.