No surgery for Andrus; timetable 6-8 weeks
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers will be without shortstop Elvis Andrus for 6-8 weeks with an olecranon fracture in his right elbow. Andrus will not require surgery, according to Rangers team physician Keith Meister.
The Rangers called up first baseman Ronald Guzman from Triple-A Round Rock to replace Andrus before Friday's game against the host Astros. Jurickson Profar will be the Rangers' primary shortstop, as the club will rely on its versatility to cover other positions, including second base.
That means Joey Gallo could play both first base and the outfield. Drew Robinson, who has been starting in center field, could end up playing second along with Isiah Kiner-Falefa. That in turn could mean more playing time in center for Carlos Tocci or possibly Ryan Rua.
"We have a number of players who can play a number of positions," general manager Jon Daniels said. "It's a unique set of circumstances. We're looking to tap into that."
Andrus, who was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning on Wednesday night, was leading the Rangers with a .327 batting average and will be going on the disabled list for the first time in his career. He has never played in fewer than 145 games in a big league season.
"Everybody heals at a different rate, but we think that [6-8 weeks] is a reasonable range," Daniels said. "It was a freak deal, a hit by pitch. There is not a whole lot you can do to prevent that. This just highlights how reliable he is. It was an emotional one for all of us. It was good that it was the ulna bone and not the joint. That would have taken a little longer."
The Rangers are already without center fielder Delino DeShields, who is recovering from a broken bone in his left wrist, and second baseman Rougned Odor, who has a strained left hamstring. Odor will be sidelined for approximately three weeks, while DeShields is pushing to return in the next 2-3 weeks.
With three regulars down, the Rangers will have to be creative with their versatility.
Guzman, the Rangers' No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has gotten off to a good start at Triple-A, going 7-for-17 (.412) in his first five games. He is also on the Rangers' 40-man roster as opposed to veteran infielder Hanser Alberto. But he is limited to first base, meaning Gallo would go into the outfield in games that Guzman starts. Gallo has played left, third and first base in his career, although the Rangers were hoping to anchor him at first this season.
Robinson is currently the Rangers' regular center fielder in DeShields' absence, but he has played 193 games at second base in the Minors and seven more at the big league level.
Rua, who has been starting in left field, can also play all four infield positions. Kiner-Falefa can play third, short, second and catcher. Tocci is the Rangers' best defensive option in center, although his offense is still unknown.
Both Kiner-Falefa and Tocci are in the big leagues for the first time. Guzman will be making his Major League debut.
Daniels said the Rangers did not consider Willie Calhoun, who was a second baseman for the first three years of his professional career before moving to left field last season. The Rangers want him to focus on playing left field for Round Rock and work on his defense.
The Rangers' other two middle infielders at Round Rock are Christian Lopes and Andy Ibanez. Neither has any big league experience or is on the 40-man roster. The Rangers had veteran infielders Darwin Barney and Trevor Plouffe in Spring Training, but both have since asked for and received their release when it became apparent they would not be in the big leagues. The Rangers are not planning on re-engaging with either player.
"If they had been at Triple-A, it would have been more of a consideration," Daniels said. "Not at this point."
Daniels said the Rangers are looking for more depth at Triple-A, adding that they always try to upgrade the big league club but right now are planning to go with what they have.
"We've got some young guys who clearly have more ability than they have shown," Daniels said. "We are going to continue to run them out there and looking forward to watching them play."