Connect with us

Texas Rangers

COVID issues force massive adjustments to Rangers roster ahead of series in Cleveland

Photo: Alex Plinck/Dallas Sports Fanatic

COVID issues force massive adjustments to Rangers roster ahead of series in Cleveland

60 games in 2020 and about 120 games in 2021, the Rangers didn’t, or rarely did, open the COVID-19 injured list door. The club was one of few MLB teams that didn’t have a game impacted last season and personally didn’t have any COVID-related issues the past thirteen months. Then late August hit. Last Friday the Rangers placed Charlie Culberson on the COVID-19 injured list, becoming the first player for Texas to do so in 2021.

Then the outbreak occurred. While Saturday’s pregame became clean, Monday’s became a mess. The Rangers placed Mike Foltynewicz, Brock Holt, and Drew Anderson on the COVID-19 injured list before Monday’s game (the club placed Anderson before Tuesday’s game). Before Tuesday’s game against Cleveland, catcher Jonah Heim made his way to the COVID-19 injured list while pitchers Dane Dunning and Spencer Howard are unavailable due to health and safety protocols. Right now, five players are on the COIVD-19 injured list for Texas.

It’s a lot of shuffling around, especially in the rotation. Foltynewicz’s spot Wednesday was filled initially by Spencer Howard, but now projects to be Jake Latz. Latz pitched in two starts at Round Rock along with fifteen outings (thirteen starts) at Frisco. Currently, Jordan Lyles’s start is moved up one day after Saturday’s outing against the Red Sox and will replace Dane Dunning’s spot in the rotation. Finally, from the rotation standpoint, the Rangers will make a corresponding move to fill a gap for Friday as both Howard and Dunning are not officially on the COVID-19 injured list. “It’s a little bit of a circus lately,” Chris Woodward said. “It’s already been a tougher season, [but] this is another test for us that I’m sure we’ll pass.”

From the position player perspective, Jonah Heim’s stint on the COVID-19 injured list provides significant playing time for Jose Trevino. “I think I would catch Trevino all three of these games. Probably not fair to Pozo to throw him in there right away. But if we need him, we’re going to have to use him,” Chris Woodward told me. Right now, it’s about the guys on the field and on the current roster. “You learn a lot about guys in terms of guys that weren’t expected to get the call up right now; getting the opportunity to come into the big leagues and shine,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said Tuesday. Ryan Dorow got the call up from Round Rock but isn’t expected not to get much playing time. A roster note, once a player returns from the COVID-19 injured list returns, the player that the team sends back to the minors does not go through waivers or use an option. Clubs can also recall and use players who are not on the 40 man roster without having to use a roster spot. Again, these players must replace players who are placed on the COVID-19 injured list.

One thing to make clear, while Culberson, Holt, and Anderson indicated they are vaccinated, that doesn’t mean the others are not. They haven’t disclosed their vaccination status and neither have the Rangers as a group. The Rangers are one of twenty-three MLB teams that have an eighty-five or higher percentage vaccination rate. So the question becomes, are we at the end of the outbreak? Or is it just starting? Chris Young said it best, “Every team has dealt with this to some extent this year, and it’s our turn right now, and we’ll get through it.”

Credentialed Media Staff Writer covering the Texas Rangers for Dallas Sports Fanatic | 2014 University of North Texas graduate with a Bachelor's in Radio, Television, and Film. I talk about things. Find me on the tweeter @aplinckTX

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Recent Posts