Already struggling with a pitching staff that has two starters down, the 2014 Texas Rangers may be juggling the lineup in the field as well.
First, the not-so-bad news. Shortstop Elvis Andrus had an MRI done on his sore elbow. The test came back negative, but Andrus may still miss some time around opening day. Designated hitter Mitch Moreland felt some tightness in his left oblique muscle just after right fielder Alex Rios returned from a similar injury. The only real cure for these injuries is rest, and with Opening Day this weekend, there will be few opportunities for rest over the next six months. These injuries may get worse before they get better.
Catcher Geovany Soto has torn cartilage in his knee and will miss at least 10-12 weeks. Everyone behind Soto will probably move up. Backup J.P Arencibia should be promoted to starter. Robinson Chirinos, he of the career .205 batting average, appeared destined for the minor leagues just last week but now may effectively split time with Arencibia behind the plate.
Finally, the really big news. Whether it’s good or bad depends greatly on your own point of view. Second baseman Jurickson Profar hurt his throwing shoulder and will miss 10-12 weeks, at the minimum. This loss may be a significant blow to fantasy owners who may have been counting on Profar to score at least 100 runs. Profar’s injury caused Kensuke Tanaka‘s phone to ring. The left-hander showed some speed and an ability to get on base last year in the San Francisco Giants‘ organization, but at age 32, he’s probably more of a platoon player at this point. That appears to be the plan, as in-camp journeyman Josh Wilson, a right-hander, appears to have the inside track for the starting job. Expect to see Rougned Odor soon because, in the increasingly-competitive AL West, the Rangers cannot afford to fall too far behind too soon.