The Rangers announced today that LHP Joely Rodriguez was placed on the 10-day injured list due to a hamstring strain. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by Jesse Chavez, who’s been activated from the IL after spraining his left big toe on August 23. Rodriguez suffered the injury during last night’s game against the Mariners.
With just three weeks until the scheduled end of the regular season, it’s unlikely that Rodriguez, 28, will return to health quickly enough to pitch again this year. It’s an unfortunate break for the Rangers, for whom Rodriguez has been something of a surprise, establishing himself as one of the club’s most reliable relievers to this point.
In 12 2/3 innings of work—his first MLB appearances since 2017—Rodriguez has produced an impressive 2.13 ERA. He’s reinvented himself since his days with the Phillies, adding a changeup upon which he relies heavily, throwing it about 30% of the time. That pitch has effectively replace the slider in his repertoire, and his strikeouts have climbed to career-best rates as a result: he boasts a nice 17:5 K:BB ratio, good for a 12.1 K/9 average.
Without Rodriguez available, the Rangers will turn to Chavez, now recovered from a toe sprain suffered last month. Unlike Rodriguez, the 37-year-old Chavez was off to a slow start to the year prior to his injury. He’s allowed 11 runs (including 6 homers) in just 11 1/3 innings, all while striking out batters at his lowest rate in a decade. Make no mistake, that could be dismissed as an aberration in any other season, but in this unique shortened campaign, small sample sizes can’t be so easily ignored.