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What Could be the Cause for the Texas Rangers Injury Woes?

What Could be the Cause for the Texas Rangers Injury Woes?

“Injuries are a part of the game” is an understatement to the 2024 Texas Rangers. After celebrating a championship, the Rangers have watched their players hit the injured list quicker than a free buffet clears on a restaurant’s opening night. Seventeen different Rangers have hit the injured list (Josh Sborz is in his second stint), with four back on the active roster. During the last road trip to Philadelphia and Minneapolis, the Rangers saw three different starting pitchers leave their games prematurely due to injury. Texas placed Jon Gray on the IL with a groin issue, José Ureña left due to a comebacker, and Michael Lorenzen left his start due to a cramp in his knee (it appears he should be fine to make his next start). So what gives on these injuries?

It’s not just the Texas Rangers who are grappling with pitcher injuries. A trend is emerging across the league, with pitchers hitting the injured list at a more rapid pace than in previous seasons. Out of the 17 players that hit the injured list, 13 are pitchers. According to Jon Roegele, a baseball injury researcher, just over 35 percent of pitchers in baseball have undergone Tommy John surgery at least once. This, coupled with the smaller strike zone, the rise in velocity, the difference in baseballs, and the analytics, points to a common challenge faced by all 30 teams in the league. 

“We pitchers have complained about pitchers having a grip on a baseball for years, and they’ve done absolutely nothing to help out with that; it’s actually the reverse. We could start there,” Rangers reliever Kirby Yates said in an interview with ESPN last month when asked how to address the pitcher injury issue. “If they addressed the cover of the baseball and we could hold on a little bit better, it might make us spin the ball a little bit better.”

What about the World Series aftermath? Well, I’m not going to say it has nothing to do with the pile-up of injuries, but looking at the other factors, I’d say the post-World Series hangover is somewhat low on the list. If you look at previous champions over the past five seasons, the Dodgers used the injured list 44 times (non-COVID-19-related instances), while the Braves and Astros used the injured list less than 25 times after their pennant runs.

I asked Rangers manager Bruce Bochy, who had been down the post-World Series season three separate times before this season if there was a correlation between the shortened offseason and the injuries piling up. “I don’t think so. I don’t see one that I would say, well, but that’s because of last year. [The pitchers] had their IL times last year, too. I don’t think that’s the reason; we kept an eye on them this spring and kept an eye on them during the season.” 

He’s right in that some of the injuries sustained are by players who weren’t on the Texas postseason roster last season or freak-type injuries. For example, Josh Jung got hit in the wrist in Tampa Bay and needed surgery, unrelated to any work done in the offseason. Ureña left his start because of a comebacker (has not reached the IL yet) while Wyatt Langford, Michael Lorenzen, and Austin Pruitt were not on the Rangers’ big league roster last year. Could there be a correlation? There’s a small one, but not the leading candidate.

Despite the injury onslaught, the 2024 Texas Rangers are showing remarkable resilience. They enter Memorial Day week four games under .500, but only three games back of first place Seattle in the American League West. While Texas’ offense has sputtered the past three weeks, Sunday’s 6-2 win in Minnesota over the Twins (highlighted by Corey Seager’s two home runs) injected a dose of hope. The Rangers are starting to emerge from their offensive funk, a sign that they are not ready to give up. And even if the DFW fans are frowning, the success of the Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks keeps the sports spirit high.


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

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