Garver to have season-ending forearm surgery

July 9th, 2022

ARLINGTON -- Rangers catcher Mitch Garver is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery to repair an injured flexor tendon in his right forearm on Monday morning.

“Yes that is true,” Garver said following Texas’ 6-5 win over the Twins on Friday night at Globe Life Field.

Surgery has felt like an inevitability for Garver, as he’s been limited to DH duties since mid-May with the injury. After going on the 10-day injured list when the flexor injury first flared up on May 10, he landed on the COVID-IL a month later on June 10.

The surgery requires a six-to-eight month recovery time, so the Rangers and Garver needed to make a move soon in order for him to be ready for Spring Training in 2023. Garver and manager Chris Woodward had previously said that a decision on surgery would be made before the All-Star break in order to leave wiggle room for any potential setbacks.

“It’s unfortunate,” Woodward said. “We’re gonna miss him, but it’s for his sake. He may not tell you guys how much it’s bothered him, but I guarantee it has far more than he’s letting on. There’s been a lot of back-and-forth, but for him to do [the surgery] tells me it’s bothering him. I think he wants to play, he wants to help our team and wants to be in there, but he feels like it's a detriment to himself and to our team. 

“I still think 50% Mitch Garver is probably better than most. I'm gonna miss him in the lineup. If he feels like that's best, I'm gonna fully support it.”

The Rangers acquired Garver in a Spring Training deal that sent Isiah Kiner-Falefa to the Twins. With multiple defense-first catchers, Texas felt acquiring the Silver Slugger Award winner would add much needed power at the position.

Garver slashed .300/.345/.660 in May and he seemed to be hitting a groove until both IL stints stalled his work at the plate. He went 0-for-2 on Friday and he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to spark the Rangers' decisive six-run fifth inning. He is hitting .210 with 10 homers on the season.

“Yeah, I mean, I'm not hitting the ball,” Garver said during the last homestand. “I'm not gonna blame it on my [forearm]. I'm just not hitting the ball well, and it is what it is. I do think it's a part of it. It sucks not being able to catch, too. I'm not a DH, I'm a catcher. So it's kind of like a big part of who I am is missing as a player because I can't go out there and do what I want to do and do what I'm good at.”

Would simple rest and rehab work in order to be ready for next season?

"The only way that I'm gonna be the player that I want to be is with the surgery," Garver said.

In the meantime, the Rangers currently have three other catchers on the 40-man roster, including Jonah Heim, who has been taking starting reps behind the plate since Garver first went down. Sam Huff spent most of that time backing up Garver, but he was returned to Triple-A Round Rock on June 21 to get more reps behind the plate. Meibrys Viloria has replaced him as the primary backup catcher.