Rangers third baseman Josh Jung has been out since early August after undergoing surgery to stabilize a fracture in his thumb, but the standout rookie could be back in the lineup as soon as next week, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. Jung has been cleared for full baseball activity and is slated to take live batting practice at the team’s spring complex in Arizona. If that goes well, he could jump right back onto the roster for Monday’s series opener against the visiting Red Sox.
Jung, 25, was one of the front-runners for American League Rookie of the Year at the time of his surgery, having batted .274/.323/.489 with 22 home runs in 461 plate appearances. He’ll likely still appear on some Rookie of the Year ballots, but the roughly six-week absence has given current favorite Gunnar Henderson some runway to take a notable lead in terms of counting stats. Regardless of his standing in ROY voting, Jung’s return will be crucial for a Rangers club that has received awful production at third base since his injury. Texas third baseman have posted a disastrous .155/.238/.216 line in Jung’s absence.
More from the American League…
- The Twins announced this morning that they recalled Bailey Ober from Triple-A St. Paul, and Bobby Nightengale of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that the 6’9″ righty will be plugged back into Minnesota’s rotation. Ober pitched just 108 1/3 innings in 2021 and 72 2/3 innings last year due to injuries, so this year’s jump to 145 1/3 innings (MLB and AAA combined) has been significant. Ober indeed looked to be hitting a wall when he was optioned; he notched a spectacular 2.74 ERA in his first 15 starts but followed that up with 34 innings of 6.09 ERA ball. The Twins only had him make one start during this Triple-A stint (five innings on Sept. 9) and otherwise kept him fresh by throwing bullpen sessions and live batting practice. Ober took the demotion in stride, admitting to Nightengale that he was surprised but also adding that he “can definitely see [the Twins’] perspective on things.” Ober is under club control for another four years beyond the current season and has a 3.75 ERA in 53 career starts for Minnesota. Lefty Brent Headrick was optioned to Triple-A in place of Ober.
- With the Red Sox firing chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom yesterday, Boston’s front office is in transition. While it’s far too early in the process to have a definitive idea about who’ll replace Bloom at the top of baseball operations, some immediately speculated about manager Alex Cora. Cora has previously voiced a desire to lead a front office at some point in his career, but he shot down the notion of moving anytime soon. Speaking with reporters (including Sean McAdam of MassLive), Cora stated he didn’t intend to leave the dugout imminently. “I think it’s too soon. … I’m 48 next month and I feel very comfortable with what I’m doing.” He reiterated that being an executive at some point down the line is still of interest.