ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The playoff-chasing Texas Rangers got a huge boost with the return of two All-Star players to their starting lineup Monday night, when rookie third baseman Josh Jung and slugging right fielder Adolis García were both activated from the injured list.
Jung had been out six weeks since fracturing his left thumb. García, the AL leader with 100 RBIs when he got hurt Sept. 6, had missed 10 games because of a patellar tendon strain in his right knee.
After watching both players take early batting practice Monday, manager Bruce Bochy said Jung would be in the lineup but García still needed to go through some other drills and visit with a doctor. About a half-hour before first pitch against Boston, the Rangers posted a new lineup with Jung batting fifth and García sixth.
To make room on the 28-man roster, catcher-first baseman Sam Huff and infielder Jonathan Ornelas were both optioned to Triple-A Round Rock.
After being swept in three games at Cleveland over the weekend, the Rangers opened their final homestand 1 1/2 games behind AL West-leading Houston. They had a one-game lead over Seattle for the American League's third and final wild-card spot. Texas will play seven of its last 10 games against the Mariners.
Jung was a leading candidate for AL Rookie of the Year before getting hurt on a bizarre play Aug. 6 against Miami.
Jorge Soler hit a scorching, 110 mph line drive directly at Jung. The ball bounded out of his glove but he grabbed it and started a double play by tagging the bag and throwing to second. Jung then left the game.
In 109 games, Jung had hit .274 with 22 homers and 67 RBIs. He was leading all major league rookies in homers, RBIs, hits (117), runs (70) and extra-base hits (47) when he got hurt. He had only three errors in 290 total chances at third base for a .990 fielding percentage.
Monday was the first day García was eligible to come off the 10-day IL. He got hurt after his unsuccessful leaping attempt to prevent a home run while playing right field in a 12-3 loss to Houston, which hit 16 homers in a three-game sweep at Texas. García’s right leg jammed hard to the ground and his knee buckled when he came down after leaping at the wall.
The Rangers had six All-Stars this season, and all but second baseman Marcus Semien have had IL stints since the showcase in mid-July. They are also without two injured Cy Young Award winners.
Shortstop Corey Seager and switch-hitting catcher Jonah Heim were already back in the lineup. Right-handed starter Nathan Eovaldi, who pitched for the Red Sox the past five seasons, is scheduled Tuesday for his fourth start since missing seven weeks with a strained right forearm.
Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer will miss the rest of the regular season, and likely the playoffs as well if the Rangers make it, because of a muscle strain in his shoulder after his start last week. Two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom had season-ending elbow surgery after Texas won each of his six starts before the end of April. He signed a $185 million, five-year contract in free agency last winter after nine seasons with the Mets.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb
Stephen Hawkins, The Associated Press