Profar notches two hits in Saguaros victory
Rangers shortstop showing no signs of rust following missed time due to injury
SCOTTSDALE, AZ -- Day by day and game by game, Jurickson Profar is completing his recovery.
Profar, formerly the top-ranked prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, has missed most of the last two years due to a right shoulder injury, but he's used his time in the Arizona Fall League to get back into the flow. Profar, 22 years old, had two hits and an RBI in an 8-6 win for Surprise over Glendale on Wednesday.
"We all swung the bats good," said Profar of Surprise, which has already qualified for Saturday's AFL title game. "We're looking forward to the championship. We're all excited and we're ready to battle."
For Profar, a prized shortstop in the Rangers' organization, competing is a thrill. The youngster missed the entire 2014 season due to his shoulder injury, and he played in just 12 Minor League games this year prior to the Fall League. And even out in Arizona, he's been used solely as a designated hitter.
But that's not because of his health. Profar, a Curacao native, said that his shoulder feels fine and that he's been held out of defensive duty in the interest of caution by the Rangers' coaching staff.
"I'm catching ground balls at shortstop every day," he said after Wednesday's game. "I'm ready to play there, but they're taking it easy and I understand that. I'm definitely ready to play shortstop."
Profar, prior to his injury, had never really experienced baseball adversity. The infielder zoomed through the lower levels of the Rangers' farm system and made his big league debut as a 19-year-old. Profar played 85 games in the Major Leagues the following year before being derailed by injuries.
And while his road back to full strength was littered with obstacles, Profar said Wednesday that he never lost confidence that he could be the same player he was before he hurt himself.
"No, not a chance. Never," he said of whether he ever began to doubt himself or his ability. "I was just working hard every day and I knew I was going to be good when I was back playing. I knew I'd be the same or even better. I work hard every day to be good and I never had a doubt about it."
Profar has backed up his confidence with production, and he's tied for second in the AFL with 19 RBIs in his first 19 games. The rust is all gone, he said, and he feels he'll be ready for Spring Training. But first he wants to use what's left of the winter to strengthen his legs for a long regular season.
He has no goals, he said, except to get back to the big leagues and prove that he's still one of the most promising young players in the league. And for Profar, just getting on the field is an important first step.
"It feels great. I feel normal again," said Profar. "I'm playing the game that I love. I missed quite a bit of time, but I'm back at it again and I'm working hard every day to be a better player."