It’s unimaginable to believe that with the offensive success the Rangers have had in the past month, they’ll get more reinforcements in the upcoming week. Shortstop Corey Seager is slated to return on the upcoming home stand after missing a month with a hamstring injury suffered on April 11th. The Rangers have split time at shortstop between Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran, which showcased how vital Duran has been to the ball club in the past month. Now that Seager is coming back, the Rangers have to make some arrangements.
The Corresponding Move:
Earlier in the week, the Rangers called up Sam Huff to replace Travis Jankowski after Jankowski hit the injured list. The Rangers had limited options without making an accommodating 40-man move. Therefore, the decision to move Huff was the more logical one. When Seager returns, I’d expect Huff to return to Round Rock to get more at-bats and more playing time. With the run Jonah Heim is on, you want his bat in the lineup every day, and getting him off his feet these next few days as a designated hitter may be the way to do it. The Rangers have three catchers on their roster; therefore, take advantage of it.
For those curious about the choice – Rangers don’t have many 40 man options when it comes to position players.
— Alex Plinck🏳️🌈 (@aplinckTX) May 9, 2023
What happens after that:
I’m sure the Rangers want to be sure Corey Seager is 100% ready to go, but I would also suspect him to start as a designated hitter a few times. First, to be sure that the hamstring heals up, and second, to get Ezequiel Duran even more playing time. In the meantime, look for Duran to get a lot of work in left field, which closes the door on guys like Bubba Thompson and Josh Smith.
I would also suspect that the Rangers maneuver a little regarding lineup construction. For example, on a Seager DH day, the team could move Smith to shortstop (he played a solid short this season and in Spring Training) and have Duran play left field. The ultimate question comes when Seager plays every day at short and gets reps for the backups like Smith, Thompson, and Brad Miller. Rangers manager Bruce Bochy may continue to use left field as a revolving door with Duran getting the bulk of reps and utilize Bubba Thompson as a ninth-inning running threat, but I doubt those guys get a bunch of playing time. For Brad Miller, his season is starting to resemble that of Charlie Culberson last season. A vital clubhouse presence with playing time dwindling, although I would suspect Bochy uses Miller in pinch-hit situations.
— Bally Sports Southwest (@BallySportsSW) May 3, 2023
Adding Seager back into the lineup will add more thump to a group that is second in MLB in runs scored. One hole the team needed help filling was that second spot in the lineup. While Seager was out, the Ranger’s second-place hitters had an OPS of .606, which is the third lowest in MLB during that span. The .229 average ranked 21st in MLB and tied for the lowest with one home run. The second spot was a hole in the lineup and they’re addressing it with a return of their franchise player.
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