Jung suffers fractured right wrist on HBP, goes on IL

April 2nd, 2024

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rangers third baseman has what manager Bruce Bochy calls buzzard's luck.

Jung isn’t injury prone if you ask Bochy, but there’s no doubt he has had some of the worst luck that the skipper has seen in all his time in the game.

Jung was removed from the Rangers’ 9-3 win over the Rays on Monday night at Tropicana Field after being hit by a pitch on his right hand as he swung at it. Bochy said postgame that scans quickly revealed a fractured wrist, and a day later, the 26-year-old was placed on the 10-day injured list. Justin Foscue, the club's No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was called up from Triple-A Round Rock to take Jung's place on the roster.

In his first four games of 2024, Jung went 7-for-17 with two walks, one double, one triple and two homers -- one of which came in the win over the Rays.

“I just feel horrible,” Bochy said. “He's had such tough luck on this end as far as injuries and puts a damper on this win. Especially the way he was playing, he was carrying us today. He'll be back. I talked to him briefly. Now this hurts and you know, I feel for the kid because he's had to deal with so much. It's gonna be a little while, but he'll be back.”

The only thing that has slowed Jung’s career so far has been injuries. He slashed .266/.315/.467 with 23 homers in his first full big league season in 2023, but he landed on the injured list for six weeks with a fractured left thumb.

Three of Jung’s last four Spring Trainings have also begun with injuries, including a strained left calf this year that kept him out until the final week of Cactus League games. As the club’s top prospect, he sustained a stress fracture in his left foot going into camp in 2021, then tore a labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder while lifting weights during camp in '22, both of which delayed his MLB debut until September of ‘22.

“He's had some bad luck again,” Bochy said. “I just told him he will be back. He's pretty down, as he should be because he was just coming off that calf injury and playing well, swinging the bat well. It’s not easy to have a setback when you've had so many of them, but he's got to keep telling himself he'll be back. He's young. He's going to have a nice long career, and this is just another little setback here for him.”

Veteran outfielder Travis Jankowski and infielder Marcus Semien both lamented in the clubhouse postgame what a horrible break it was for both Jung and the team to have him go down like he did, especially when he was swinging the bat so well.

“It's definitely a tough time for him, depressing, whatever you call it,” Semien said. “I just feel for him. I don't want to talk any more about the bad luck and just try to cheer him up.”

Texas has infield depth to back up Jung, though less than usual with first baseman Nathaniel Lowe nursing a right oblique strain.

The Rangers will likely turn to Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith in Jung’s absence. Both filled in at different points when Jung was down in 2023. Duran has been part of a first-base platoon with veteran infielder Jared Walsh early this season, and he is versatile enough to play all four infield positions.

“It's going to happen,” Semien said. “I think that that's why we have the depth that we have, because you have to prepare for these kinds of things. This was a freak thing. We have a ton of talent in this system and a ton of guys who work hard who are fully capable of starting in this league. So it’s next man up.”