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Josh Jung Diagnosed With Fractured Wrist

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Rangers third baseman Josh Jung has been diagnosed with a fractured right wrist, the team told reporters (including Kennedi Landry of MLB.com). Jung was removed from this evening’s game against the Rays in the ninth inning after he was hit on the wrist while swinging at a pitch. Inevitably, he will be placed on the injured list, but how much time he misses depends on the severity of the injury. Jeff Wilson of Rangers Today suggests Jung could actually return sooner if he undergoes surgery. However, Wilson also notes that manager Bruce Bochy could not provide a timeline for the third baseman’s return.

Although this particular incident was largely unavoidable, Jung has begun to develop a reputation as an injury-prone player. He came into spring training in 2021 with a stress fracture in his foot, while he suffered a torn labrum during the spring of 2022. He stayed healthy through most of his rookie season in 2023, until a scorching liner off the bat of Jorge Soler broke his thumb in August. Most recently, the 26-year-old missed time this spring with a calf strain. While some of his injuries have been freak accidents, it’s hard not to see a pattern emerging.

Jung was off to a hot start in 2024, with seven hits (including two home runs) in 19 plate appearances. Although four games is a minuscule sample size, he was working hard to dispel any concerns about the dreaded sophomore slump. He will have to hope his wrist injury does not sap him of any strength upon his return; power is his most important tool.

Thankfully for the Rangers, they have a pair of capable third basemen on the bench in Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith. While neither is a threat at the plate like Jung, Duran is coming off a respectable breakout season (.768 OPS, 107 wRC+ in 122 games), and Smith has put up impressive defensive numbers over 61 MLB games at the hot corner (12 DRS, 3 OAA). Smith has struggled at the plate thus far in his big league career, but his .233 career batting average on balls in play and his .321 xwOBA last season (compared to a .287 wOBA) suggest that his luck is due to change.

To replace Jung on the active roster, the Rangers could recall either Justin Foscue or Jonathan Ornelas from Triple-A. Ornelas, 23, played eight games for Texas last season, while Foscue, 25, has yet to play in the major leagues. Alternatively, the Rangers could select an infielder from off of the 40-man roster. Veteran Matt Duffy recently signed a minor league deal with the club, while Jeff Wilson suggests 26-year-old minor league Davis Wendzel as an option after his strong spring.

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