The designated hitter Tuesday for Double A Frisco was Josh Jung, the Texas Rangers’ top prospect who would be making his 2021 debut.
The Rangers’ plan calls for Jung to play Wednesday at third base as they slowly work him back into action after he underwent surgery on his left foot in late March.
External expectations remain sky high for Jung, a native Texan who was the eighth overall pick of the 2019 draft from Texas Tech. He has high expectations, too, so high that he thought he would be pushing for his MLB debut by now if not for the injury.
But getting a screw in his foot helped Jung unscrew his mind. He realized that he can’t control everything, including the trajectory of his career.
An 0-for-5 day at the plate? There’s another game tomorrow. An injury? Nothing he can do about it but get healthy.
Josh Jung appears to have tapped into Carl Jung, and the injury that set him back might serve to accelerate his trek to the Rangers’ roster.
“Obviously, you want to have control over your career, and you think you’re in control but you really aren’t,” Jung said Saturday from Arizona, where he had been rehabbing at extending spring training.
“There’s a greater power in control. And that’s been the biggest thing for me — being able to let go, not trying to control anything, not trying to control results, not trying to control how I feel that day.”
Frisco was scheduled to open a six-game series at Corpus Christi on Tuesday. Jung missed the RoughRiders’ first 35 games as well as four weeks of minor-league spring training.
He wasn’t alone in Arizona, with No. 2 prospect Sam Huff recovering from knee surgery and No. 6 prospect Justin Foscue there now to recover from a rib contusion. But Jung was stuck in a walking boot, so he watched big-league games and tried to imagine himself playing in them having both success and failures.
He used virtual reality to simulate at-bats and a lighting system to help him sharpen his vision. He watched a Bruce Lee documentary and adopted Lee’s mindset of “Be water.”
All the while, though, he realized he was having no impact on any team and there is no need wear himself out in the pursuit of perfection.
“Just be water, just flow, ride the wave,” Jung said. “There’s going to be some days the waves are going to be high and some days they’re going to crash and you’re going to feel like the world’s crashing on you, but just ride it out because it’ll turn.”
After nine extended-spring games, he declared himself ready to go. He joins Frisco confident and with the goal of reaching the majors “sooner than later.”
His mind, though, is clearer. At a time when he might be susceptible to pressing, Jung is surrendering.
“Wherever I am at that time, I’m going to go out and whatever happens happens,” he said. “Play baseball, play hard, get after it because hopefully I’ll get a shot someday. But I don’t control that, so just go out and play every game like its Opening Day.
“Have adrenaline. Try to keep it light. Make everybody laugh, smile, regardless of the result. Just surrender the result. That’s that’s my key phrase for the year. I had some wristbands made. Surrender the result.”