Rangers 'cautiously optimistic' on Seager, Jung

Bochy hoping to have both All-Stars available by Opening Day

March 18th, 2024

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers, when healthy, have an infield comprised of three All-Stars in , Marcus Semien and , in addition to first baseman Nathaniel Lowe, who has both a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award to his name.

But unfortunately, the Rangers won’t enter the 2024 season fully healthy. Lowe will be sidelined until at least mid-April with an oblique strain, and Seager and Jung have yet to appear in a Cactus League game this spring due to their own injuries prior to the start of camp.

Seager underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia in January, while Jung experienced discomfort while taking ground balls before the full squad reported to camp, with an MRI revealing a low-grade calf strain.

The good news is that those two can still be ready come Opening Day. Manager Bruce Bochy has said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that will be the case.

“I think Josh for certain, but I don't want to jump ahead yet to Corey,” general manager Chris Young said, confirming Bochy’s thinking. “I think Josh for certain, I think he's ahead of where Corey is right now. He's been able to do more baseball activity, but still cautiously optimistic for Corey, too. If it's not Opening Day, it'll be shortly thereafter.”

Jung has been taking live batting practice for about a week now and DH'd in a Minor League game on the back fields in Surprise on Monday. He was the leadoff batter in every inning, and went 2-for-4 with two singles.

Bochy said he will definitely play in the Rangers’ two exhibition games against the Red Sox at Globe Life Field on March 25-26, if all goes according to plan, and he may even be able to appear in a Cactus League game before camp breaks.

“I really haven't had any previous opportunities to really push it yet,” Jung said. “They've been doing a good job of keeping me from doing that, but so far everything's been good. Today was obviously the first time in-game being able to do it. I wasn't thinking about the calf. I wouldn't say I ran it 100% like I was busting it out of the box, but I probably gave a good 85%.

“I'm pretty much at that point where I'm not thinking about it anymore. It's just something I haven't done since Game 5 [of the World Series]. No hesitancy, everything was good.”

Seager has been taking swings in the cages for about a week and took his first live batting practice on Monday, facing big leaguer Josh Sborz and Minor Leaguer Robby Ahlstrom. He also did infield drills, including fielding and throwing, following his live BP session.

Seager, who finished as the runner-up in AL MVP Award voting last season, went on the injured list twice in 2023, sidelined by a left hamstring strain and a right thumb sprain. He only played in three games with Double-A Frisco for a rehab assignment after the hamstring strain, and did not even require a rehab assignment after the thumb sprain.

“It’s hard to say,” Bochy said on if Seager will return as quickly again. “That may be our experience with him, we've seen how fast he comes back, but at the same time now you're looking at all winter without picking up a bat. So that's a little bit different this time around because it does take time to build the swings up and everything. We'll have to look at and evaluate after some at-bats and see where he's at and how the bat feels. He’s got to be in a place where it's comfortable.”