Rangers outfielder/designated hitter Willie Calhoun will require surgery to repair a fracture in his left ulna, the team announced to reporters Monday (Twitter thread via Kennedi Landry of MLB.com). Calhoun sustained the injury when he was hit by a pitch on the forearm over the weekend. A clear timetable hasn’t yet been revealed — that’ll presumably come after the operation — but an absence of some note now looks all the more inevitable.
Meanwhile, right-hander Hunter Wood, who has been out since late May after hitting the IL with an elbow surgery that was eventually termed a “mild” sprain of his right ulnar collateral ligament. He’s now undergone elbow surgery and will miss a minimum of eight months, which suggests that Wood did not require a full Tommy John surgery (which comes with a 12- to 16-month recovery period). Indeed, the procedure in question installed an internal brace in Wood’s elbow, tweets The Athletic’s Levi Weaver.
It was already apparent that Calhoun would be out awhile following the announcement of a fracture, but it’s a tough blow all the same. The 26-year-old wasn’t hitting for the type of power he displayed in 2019, but Calhoun’s 8.4 percent walk rate and 11.6 percent strikeout rate are both career-best marks. He’s long been a touted hitting prospect, and had he been able to maintain that improved approach while reclaiming some of his 2019 pop as the summer wore on, there was some breakout potential.
It remains to be seen when or whether Calhoun will return to the big league club in 2021, but the injury will deprive him of a chance to bolster his case in his first offseason of arbitration eligibility. He’s under club control through the 2024 season.
As for Wood, the surgery will cut his season short at just five big league innings. The right-hander joined the organization on a minor league pact over the winter and showed well in a brief Triple-A look before allowing a pair of runs in his MLB frames. Wood didn’t pitch in the Majors last season, but he’s seen MLB time with both the Rays and the Indians in the past, throwing quite well along the way. He’s tallied 91 2/3 innings at the MLB level and put together a 3.34 ERA with a below-average 21.9 percent strikeout rate against an very solid 8.1 percent walk rate.
While Wood’s 2021 season is over, he can remain under team control with the Rangers organization — they’re comfortable committing a 40-man roster spot over the winter. There’s no guarantee that’ll be the case, but Wood has been outrighted in the past, so even if the Rangers remove him from the 40-man this winter and he goes unclaimed on waivers, he’d have the option of electing free agency to determine the best fit.