Jung undergoes surgery on fractured thumb

August 10th, 2023

OAKLAND -- Rookie third baseman had surgery on his fractured left thumb on Wednesday and could miss approximately six weeks.

Jung's procedure, which included installing a plate and screws to stabilize the fracture, was performed by Dr. Don Sheridan in Scottsdale, Ariz. The plan is for Jung to rehab with the Rangers, with the expectation that he will return before the end of the regular season.

Jung, who was injured while turning a key double play in Sunday's 6-0 win over the Marlins, was placed on the 10-day injured list ahead of the Rangers' opener in Oakland Monday night.

Manager Bruce Bochy said the timeline for Jung's return is "close" to six weeks, "could be a little sooner, could be a little past that." With eight weeks to go until Game 162, a setback could spell a premature end to Jung's regular season.

"I don't look at it like that," Bochy said. "I think he will be joining us before the season's over."

Jung has been tremendous for the Rangers in his first full big league season and is a likely front-runner for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. The 25-year-old leads all rookies with 22 homers and has started 107 of Texas' 112 games. 

"I feel awful. He was just having an incredible year," Bochy said. "The thing is, with him too, it was workload concerns, you know, the load management, with how much we could play him because he really hadn't been through a season like this. And here he was in August, playing some of his best baseball.

"This guy just had tons of energy still going and was swinging the bat well, playing a great third base. I'm sick for him, I really am. … Not having him at third base -- yeah, that's not going to be fun to see."

With Jung sidelined, Ezequiel Duran, Josh H. Smith and Jonathan Ornelas are likely to see the bulk of the playing time at third base. Ornelas, Texas' No. 14 prospect per MLB Pipeline, received his first Major League callup as the corresponding move for Jung's IL stint.

Bochy emphasized that defense will be one of the biggest factors in deciding who takes over at third base, noting that none of the team's three leading options has played much at the position this season. Smith has logged five games at third, while Duran has played there twice. Ornelas made four appearances at the hot corner with Triple-A Round Rock.

The Rangers have managed to maintain their position atop the AL West for most of the season despite dealing with injuries to key contributors. Currently, Jung joins fellow 2023 All-Stars Jonah Heim and Nathan Eovaldi on the injured list.

So far, the Rangers have managed to use their versatile roster to weather adversity. They hope the same will be true with Jung sidelined down the stretch.

"I think that's a good thing about this team, is we do have that depth," Smith said. "It's never good when two of your All-Stars go down, you know. We're wishing Josh the best. We're hoping he can get back by the end of the year to help us make a run. While he's out, hopefully some guys will step up."