TODAY: Andrus will not need surgery but will miss approximately six to eight weeks of time, the club announced. It is not fully clear whether that estimate includes any anticipated time spent on a rehab assignment, though it seems the organization can anticipate that its regular shortstop will be back in the majors at some point in the month of June.
YESTERDAY, 11:35pm: The Rangers issued a press release on Andrus’ injury, indicating that initial X-rays “indicate the probability of a fracture in the elbow.” He’s set to undergo additional X-rays and a CT scan tomorrow, and his elbow has been placed in a splint for the time being.
10:57pm: Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus has been diagnosed with a fracture in his right elbow, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Andrus was hit by a pitch late in Wednesday’s contest, and post-game X-rays revealed the break. The extent of the fracture hasn’t been revealed, though it seems clear that a DL stint for Andrus is likely on the horizon. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets that Andrus will have more tests performed tomorrow and notes that a DL trip would, remarkably, be the first of the shortstop’s career.
Obviously, the news comes as a blow to a Rangers club that has gotten off to a dreadful 4-10 start to the 2018 season and is currently sporting baseball’s second-worst run differential at -33. The 29-year-old Andrus was off to a torrid, hitting .327/.426/.500 with a pair of homers and three doubles through his first 61 plate appearancesÃÂ as he looked to recreate last season’s career year at the plate.
Andrus is the latest in a recent string of DL placements for a Rangers club that has also lost Delino DeShields, Rougned Odor and Doug Fister to the disabled list since Opening Day. With both Odor and Andrus on the sidelines, former No. 1 overall prospect Jurickson Profar seems likely to at last be ticketed for regular at-bats with the Rangers for the foreseeable future. Catcher/infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa is already with the big league club and has experience at second base, and the Rangers also have March trade pickup Eliezer Alvarez on the 40-man roster, though he has only limited experience above A-ball. Versatile Hanser Alberto in Triple-A Round Rock, but he’ll need to be re-added to the 40-man roster after previously being non-tendered and re-signed to a minor league deal.
One other scenario that could play out would be a move of Drew Robinson from the outfield to the infield, as he comes with experience in both regards at the minor league level. Shifting Profar to shortstop and Robinson to second base could then open the door for top prospect Willie Calhoun to return as a left fielder, although that alignment would likely force Ryan Rua into center field, where he’s played just 14 big league innings. Carlos Tocci remains an option in center as well, though as a Rule 5 pick, asking him to take on regular center field work would be a lot.
Certainly, the timing of the injury is brutal for Andrus from a personal standpoint as well. The shortstop’s eight-year, $120MM deal was viewed for several seasons as a misstep by the front office, but Andrus’ sensational 2017 season and strong start to the 2018 campaign suddenly made the possibility of him exercising an opt-out clause after the season look entirely possible.
Andrus has $58MM guaranteed to him over the next four seasons, but with a repeat of his 2017 season he’d almost certainly elect to test the open market in search of a lengthier, more lucrative contract. If he’s able to return in the near future, that may still be the case, but the length of his absence and the degree to which he is able to bounce back from the injury will now carry added significance with the possibility of free agency looming.