ARLINGTON -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels provided injury updates to key players during a conference call with the Texas media on Monday. He also touched on potential workouts, the upcoming MLB Draft and the impact of the shutdown on Minor League development.
Running down the topics discussed:
• Outfielder Willie Calhoun, who suffered a fractured jaw in Spring Training, has no restrictions in his workouts. Daniels said Calhoun is focused on regaining his strength and getting back into his conditioning program.
• Catcher Jose Trevino, who has a hairline fracture on his right index finger, is progressing to the point where he is two weeks away from being full-go in his baseball activities.
• The Rangers have slowed down right-hander Jesse Chavez as he tries to recover from offseason surgery on his right elbow and rebuild the strength in his shoulder. Baseball’s shutdown has allowed Chavez to take more time to build up his arm. He is throwing at 60 feet right now and expects to be long-tossing by the end of the month, then off a mound in May.
• Jeff Mathis is recovered from the pulled left hamstring muscle sustained just before Spring Training was suspended. Daniels said Mathis just lacks the ability to test the leg under normal conditions.
Pitching, workout plans
With the Rangers' 40-man roster scattered across the country and beyond, pitchers are having to improvise ways to keep their arms in shape. It’s easier said than done, given the various local restrictions.
Daniels said the Rangers want their pitchers “idling their engines.” That means not shutting it down completely, but also not going at full intensity without knowing when they will be called back to work.
“Until the league tells us otherwise, we are going to try and keep guys in some sort of state of readiness,” Daniels said. “That’s going to vary with each guy based on what they can do safely. We don’t want anybody to do anything that will jeopardize their health or the public’s health.”
Some players are able to throw with family or friends. Some are throwing into a net, while others are limited to unique training devices.
The Rangers have yet to make Globe Life Field available for any players living locally. Construction is all but completed, but the Rangers want the clubhouse and other areas to undergo a deep professional sanitizing before allowing access to players.
“If we do, it will be with some very strict protocols in place, limiting just a couple of players, 2-4 players at a time,” Daniels said.
The Rangers are fully engaged in preparing for the MLB Draft, even though the format and number of rounds has not be finalized.
Scouts are not able to get firsthand looks at players either under game conditions or the normal private workouts conducted before the Draft. But scouts are still able to talk by phone and continue to do homework on players.
The improvised format could force teams into a recruiting mode if signing bonuses are limited and Draft picks are inclined to go back to college to await more favorable conditions. There will also be coveted players among those who went undrafted due to there being fewer rounds.
“That’s where the clubs can differentiate themselves,” Daniels said. “That’s what we are going to be focused on. Demonstrating to players, parents, coaches and people who care about these players, we are going to go above and beyond in taking care of our players on and off the field. We can provide some things most organizations professionally and collegiately cannot.”
Minor League preparation
Daniels lamented the lost time for Minor League players still being developed. He brought up outfielder Bubba Thompson, the Rangers' first-round pick in 2017 who was limited to 57 games last year because of injuries.
“He really looked good [in Spring Training] with his swing and he is healthy,” Daniels said. “We wanted him to capitalize on the momentum he built and the work he had put in with our staff. The pause button has been hit. How that will affect him, we’ll see.”
A reduced season will give the Rangers less information on potential offseason decisions. Daniels said the Rangers aren’t going to fret about that right now.
“It seems so ridiculous to think we would be taking that lightly,” Daniels said. “That would be at the forefront of my mind. It’s just perspective. Whenever we are able to restart, from a business perspective, those will be big topics. Right now, they fall into the category of, 'There is nothing you can do about it.'”