ARLINGTON -- Josh Jung almost looked relieved while standing in front of his locker in the Rangers’ clubhouse on Sunday.
Texas lost the series finale against Cleveland, 10-4, and was swept at the hands of the American League Central winners, but Jung was the only Rangers batter to log multiple hits, snapping an 0-for-19 skid.
Jung's 2-for-4 day against the Guardians was his third multihit game of his short big league career, as the third baseman looks to get back to finding his rhythm at the plate.
“Thank goodness,” Jung said with a smile after snapping his skid. “I’m just preparing the best I can every day and go up there to try to have good at-bats. I’m finally laying off some pitches that I’ve been swinging at and just trying to put in some good quality at-bats.”
As Jung -- the Rangers’ top prospect, per MLB Pipeline -- continues getting acclimated to facing big league pitching, the talent is still apparent and the hit tool is most definitely still there. Even with the struggles, seven of Jung’s 12 hits in the big leagues have been for extra bases.
Jung added that he feels like some of his struggles were a combination of trying to do too much and force things to happen, while also knowing big league pitchers are simply hard to face.
Even so, interim manager Tony Beasley said he was pleased with watching Jung handle his first taste of hardships at the big league level.
“He's trying to figure things out offensively and get back on track and get going,” Beasley said. “But mentally, it seems like he's keeping it together. He doesn’t seem like he’s pressing or anything; if he is, he’s not showing it outwardly. It's good to see him get a couple hits here to help his confidence offensively.”
Though he was struggling at the plate recently, Jung doubled his season walk total from zero to two during the series against Cleveland when he drew the first couple of walks of his big league career. He didn’t take any free bases in his first 13 MLB games.
Jung credited first baseman Nathaniel Lowe with helping him with his approach at the plate and talking with him about pitch selection in recent weeks, as Jung hopes to continue limiting his strikeouts and drawing more walks.
“I think it just goes back to training hard, but also training smart,” he added. “[The hitting coaches] have been doing a great job with me pregame just telling me what I'm looking for and I try to go out there execute the best I can. … I’m just trying to settle down, just relax and find my groove.”
Jung’s strikeout-to-walk ratio (28 strikeouts to two walks) has been the biggest issue so far in his short time with the club. Even so, it hasn’t been overly concerning for the coaching staff past addressing it with the hitting coaches and working through his processes at the plate.
“I'm not concerned about either [the lack of walks or increase of strikeouts],” Beasley said. “The fact of the matter is just showing he’s here to play. We're seeing Josh at this level. And it's given us information and we’ll just see where that leads to, but he has to see the game with this level and see where he fits in. So no, I'm not concerned about it. Obviously, I want him to be successful and to make the adjustments that he needs to make.”