The Rangers made several roster moves prior to their finale with the Padres in San Diego on Thursday, including placing outfielder Willie Calhoun on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. In a slightly less expected move, the Rangers also put shortstop Elvis Andrus on the IL with a lower back strain.
Calhoun, who suffered his injury in the 10th inning of the Rangers’ loss to the Padres on Wednesday, underwent an MRI that revealed he has a low grade hamstring strain. He will be sidelined for a minimum of three weeks.
Calhoun has had a string of bad luck this season that included a fractured jaw suffered when he was hit by pitch from the Dodgers' Julio Urías on March 8 during Spring Training. Calhoun was looking at significant time on the IL had the 2020 campaign began on time, but when everything was delayed, he was on track to start on the active roster. Soon after the season began, he strained his right oblique muscle, though it did not necessitate an IL stint.
This is now looking like a lost season for Calhoun, whose hard work during the offseason and determination to have a productive year did not go unnoticed.
“He was really excited about this year,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “He was hungry. He was ready to take on the world, basically, take on the league. I feel for him. But he’s got a great attitude. He’s looking at it like, ‘Hey man, there are better days ahead.’ He’s just going to stay positive and battle through it, because that’s all you can do at this point.”
Andrus pinch-hit late in Wednesday’s game and played two innings at shortstop, but he was out of the starting lineup for a fourth straight game on Thursday. Andrus has hit just .184/.244/.250 with no homers and three RBIs in 21 games this season.
The roster replacements have limited experience. Cody, 26, who missed all of 2019 recovering from Tommy John surgery, last faced hitters in a live batting practice at the alternate training site on Aug. 12. He did not appear in any of the Summer Camp intrasquad games and did not pitch in Spring Training before the shutdown in March.
Rivera, 28, was a non-roster invite to Spring Training and has been with the alternate site group since July 19. He batted .256 with one homer and seven RBIs in 16 intrasquad games during Summer Camp.
Trevino, who appeared in 40 games for the Rangers late in 2019, said through the help of video and with access to advanced metrics, he’s been working to improve his swing mechanics with an eye on increasing his launch angle.
“The past few years, getting to work with our hitting coaches every day in the offseason and Spring Training and the summer, I actually was able to dive into that a little bit and get a little bit more launch angle, and try to work off that plane,” Trevino said.
Though it’s still early in the truncated season, Trevino has seen results on that front. There’s been a slight uptick in his launch angle, from averaging 8.3 degrees last year to 9.9 heading into Thursday’s game, per Statcast. His chase rate is down, too, from 40% in ’19 to 25.9% this season.
• Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo did not start Thursday’s game due to a sore calf, but Woodward doesn’t expect him to be sidelined more than a day.
“He’s been grinding through it, trying to get him off his feet a little bit,” Woodward said.
• Joey Gallo is the first hitter in MLB with five homers against left-handed pitchers in 2020. Since the start of '18, 28 of Gallo’s 69 homers entering Thursday were against southpaws, which is tied with Boston’s J.D. Martinez for the third-most in the Majors during that stretch. Twins DH Nelson Cruz leads with 31, followed by Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado.
• Per the Rangers, lefty Joe Palumbo has been temporarily placed on the IL and thus is off the 40-man roster. Due to his ulcerative colitis, Palumbo has been away from the club and thus has to re-do his intake testing. Under those circumstances, a player can be placed on the COVID IL. Palumbo has not tested positive or been in contact with anyone who has; this is a matter of needing to re-enter the intake testing protocol.