Following an early exit from last night’s game, Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara will head to the injured list with a strained left oblique muscle, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning-News (link). The team has purchased the contract of infielder Nick Solak in a corresponding move.
This sequence of moves has been suspected since last night when Mazara went down. It’s been a difficult season for Mazara, with these last few weeks particularly trying as the Rangers have cut into his playing time in an open audition to get more production from his spot in the lineup. The 24-year-old outfielder was a star-in-the-making not all that long ago, but he has yet to improve much in any aspect of his game since his rookie season in 2016.
Still, it’s not all doom-and-gloom for Mazara, who was headed for a fourth-straight 20-homer campaign had he stated healthy. Depending on the length of his layoff, he’ll still have a decent shot at notching the three home runs needed to hit the mark in 2019. On the whole, the power has been there for Mazara this season, with .467 slugging and .197 ISO both career-high marks. The rest of his game has maintained an almost bizarre consistency for a player so young. He’s sitting right now at a 95 wRC+ mark–right in line with his previous three marks of 96, 89, and 91 in seasons dating back to 2016. Unfortunately, that’s not quite enough pop from a corner outfielder who doesn’t rate well on defense or on the basepaths.
Solak is penciled into the 6th spot in the batting order to make his major league debut today. He is listed right now as the designated hitter, though much of his perceived long-term value stems from his defensive versatility. Throughout his minor league career, he has shuttled between second base, left field, and centerfield, while seeing an occasional inning at third or in right. It’s a good time to be debuting in Texas: yesterday alone, Jose Trevino, 26, smashed his first career home run, Scott Heineman, 26, registered his first career RBI, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, 24, ended the night with his first career walkoff knock.
Joe Palumbo has also been added to the roster today to serve as the 26th man for the twin bill against the Angels – one of two rookie starters taking the hill in today’s doubleheader. Palumbo lines up against Andrew Heaney in the afternoon tilt. It will be Palumbo’s 4th appearance of the year for the Rangers, having been hit hard for 11 earned runs across 9 innings of work. Despite the slow start at the ML level, the 24-year-old native of New York state is highly-regarded. MLB.com lists Palumbo as the 6th-best prospect in the Texas system, while Baseball America ranks him 4th.