Despite there still being 21 days until Opening Day, the Texas Rangers are already dealing with the injury bug. On Monday we moved on from soreness and tightness when GM and President of Baseball Operations Chris Young announced that center fielder Leody Taveras suffered a low-grade oblique strain.
The positive news for Rangers fans is that Opening Day is “not out of the picture” for Taveras according to Chris Young. However, obliques tend to be tricky injuries, especially for someone with a speedy playstyle like Taveras.
Last season saw Taveras have his first taste of success in the big leagues playing in 99 games finishing with a slash line of .261/.309/.366.
This injury comes in the midst of a successful Spring for the former number-one prospect who was hitting .400 in his ten at-bats.
The good news for the Rangers is that his injury isn’t a serious one. Nonetheless, Texas will still have to find someone to man center field until Taveras is back.
The most likely option would be to have Bubba Thompson for the little bit that Taveras is out. The Rangers would definitely not be losing any speed and Thompson has been getting reps in center this Spring.
Despite being more of a right fielder since Joey Gallo was traded from the Rangers to the Yankees in July of 2021, Adolis Garcia has played 137 MLB games in center field. Manager Bruce Bochy has said that Garcia will be getting some action in center this year so we’ll see if that means straight out of the gate.
With the Rangers possibly being down an outfielder on Opening Day it is possible that a spot could be open for a non roster invitee like Clint Frazier or Travis Jankowski to make the team. However, if that were to happen, the Rangers would have to clear a spot on their 40 man roster.
Ultimately, the Rangers probably dodged a bullet with the injury to Tavares. Do expect them to play it very carefully but the fact that Leody Taveras could possibly be ready for Opening Day is a good sign.