Rangers corner outfielder/designated hitter Willie Calhoun began a minor league rehab assignment this evening, the team announced. He has been assigned to the club’s Arizona Complex League affiliate.
Calhoun hasn’t played since June 26, when he suffered a forearm fracture after being hit by a Kris Bubic pitch. The injury ultimately required surgical repair, which looked at the time as if it could threaten the remainder of his season. It now seems Calhoun is likely to make it back for the season’s final couple weeks. Position players can spend up to twenty days on a rehab assignment.
The forearm fracture was only the latest in a long line of health woes for Calhoun, who was also hit in the face with a pitch during Spring Training in 2020 and has dealt with a few leg issues. The injuries have perhaps impacted Calhoun’s productivity, as the former top prospect has underperformed over the last two seasons. After a 2019 season in which he hit .269/.323/.524 and looked to be emerging as one of the game’s better young bats, the lefty-hitting Calhoun has stumbled to a .233/.293/.344 mark in 334 plate appearances going back to the beginning of 2020.
The 48-88 Rangers have long been simply playing out the stretch, so the season’s final few weeks aren’t of much importance from a team perspective. But getting back onto the field and logging some at-bats could be meaningful for Calhoun as he looks to put his past couple years behind him. The 26-year-old is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason, and he remains under team control through the end of 2024.
In other injury news, Levi Weaver of the Athletic reports (Twitter link) that reliever Matt Bush has begun throwing at the Rangers’ complex in Arizona. It seems unlikely he’ll have sufficient time to build his way back up to big league readiness before the end of the season, but Weaver adds that the hope is for Bush to log some minor league action over the next few weeks.
The 35-year-old Bush made just three appearances in the first week of April before landing on the injured list with elbow inflammation and a flexor strain. That came after the righty missed all of the 2019 and 2020 seasons with elbow injuries that eventually culminated in a Tommy John surgery. Even getting into a few minor league games before the end of the year would be a positive development if Bush is looking to make another run in 2022.
Texas could bring Bush back next season via arbitration for very little financial cost, although doing so would require keeping him on the 40-man roster all offseason. After three consecutive lost years, he seems likelier to be non-tendered and potentially brought back on a minor league deal.