Rangers call up No. 5 prospect Foscue with Jung sidelined

April 2nd, 2024

ST. PETERSBURG -- doesn’t have any of his gloves, cleats or bats. He doesn’t have much equipment at all. It’s no matter for the 25-year-old, who joined the Rangers in Florida on Tuesday afternoon for his big league debut.

The Rangers called up Foscue to help fill the void left by injured third baseman Josh Jung. Foscue -- ranked by MLB Pipeline as the club's No. 5 prospect -- was promoted from Triple-A Round Rock ahead of Tuesday night's game against the Rays, and Jung landed on the 10-day injured list in a corresponding move.

Foscue said he got the call around 11 p.m. CT Monday from farm director Josh Bonifay. At that point, all of Round Rock’s equipment had already been shipped to El Paso, Texas, where the Express were set to begin a series this week.

So with a couple of old bats and an old infielder’s glove he found in his truck, Foscue made his way to St. Petersburg, where he will hopefully make his big league debut.

“It definitely surprised me to see Josh go down,” Foscue said. “I feel for him, he's dealt with injury problems throughout his career. So I hate that, obviously, but I'm really happy to be up here.

“I thought I was going to be pretty calm, and I kind of anticipated it, but when [Bonifay] called me, I kind of started tripping. I was like, ‘Oh my God, I don't know what's going on right now.’ I didn’t know what to say. Usually, I'm good with words. I just didn't really know what to say in that moment. I just appreciate the opportunity.”

Foscue, a first-round pick (14th overall) in the 2020 MLB Draft, rates as an above-average hitter and can play first, second and third base. The right-handed hitter spent all of last season with Round Rock, slashing .266/.394/.468 with 18 homers and more walks (85) than strikeouts (70) across 122 games.

Foscue was 3-for-13 with two walks and two RBIs through Round Rock’s first three games this season.

“Any player that walks more than they strike out, it’s a timeless principle that's going to really help them at the Major League level,” said Rangers offensive coordinator Donnie Ecker during Spring Training. “He's already got that foundation that we really like, and then you add in his contact ability. ... I like his hitting IQ. His IQ and game plan are Major League ready right now.”

Foscue said it was tough to hear that he wouldn’t break camp with the big league club, but he made peace with it quickly and headed out to Round Rock to put in the work. He knew his time would come, he just didn’t know how quickly it would materialize.

He’s now ready to contribute in any way the team needs.

Without Jung, whose right wrist was fractured by a pitch that he swung at in Monday night's 9-3 win over the Rays, the Rangers will likely turn to Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith at third in addition to Foscue. Both Duran and Smith filled in for Jung when he missed six weeks last season with a fractured left thumb.

A natural second baseman, Foscue appeared at second base (70 games), third base (35 games), designated hitter (nine games) and first base (nine games) with Round Rock in 2023. He started 41 games at third base his freshman year at Mississippi State.

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, but general manager Chris Young said it’s more likely that Foscue becomes part of the first-base platoon, while Duran transitions to the opposite side of the field with Smith at third.

“We had [Foscue] in [big league camp] because we think he was close to being Major League ready,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He had a good spring, and then you look at what he did at second base and at first base, he just had a really good camp defensively. That was an area that he was working on to get better, and I think he did. He was an option for us when he went down, and now something happened, so it's good to have someone like Justin come up and help us.”