Rangers May Have "Dodged a Bullet" With Odor, But Continue to be Hit Hard by Injuries

Chris Halicke

There isn't much going well for the Texas Rangers. The offense has struggled mightily in the first several games—a key factor in the 2-5 start to the season. To compound on the issue, the pitching staff has allowed 16 runs in the first two games against the San Francisco Giants after a successful first run through the starting rotation.

"We didn’t play real good today," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. "It wasn’t our best game. It’s frustrating when you have 11 walks and one hit by pitch. Obviously we are going to have to push that one aside and move on because we are not going to win many games when you walk that many guys."

Another rising concern for the Rangers is the injuries that have piled up over the past week. Both the rotation and the bullpen suffered major blows when Corey Kluber and José Leclerc both went down with nearly identical injuries, shutting them down for four weeks. 

Now on the position player side, Rougned Odor and Danny Santana have been bitten by the injury bug. Odor left Saturday night's game after the top of the third inning with tightness in his oblique are on his right side. 

"I thought it was actually going to be worse," Woodward said. "I don't know if we dodged a bullet or not. It was in the oblique area. It was on the back side of his oblique. We'll see. He said it's just tight right now. He did some rotational stuff to test it and seemed to be better than we anticipated. We don't know if it will be an IL but I think we dodged a bullet on missing some significant time, which I was happy about because when he came out I wasn't too optimistic."

Rangers center fielder Danny Santana has also been sidelined with forearm tightness. The Rangers plan to keep him out for the next couple of days. While he is currently available to pinch-hit or pinch-run, a trip to the IL is not out of the question.

"Yeah, it's definitely been brought up," Woodward said. "Once we get confirmation on the extent of it exactly, then we'll discuss that."

While Odor and Santana have gotten off to slow starts, this still prevents two key pieces the Rangers were relying on in the lineup from working through their early-season struggles. Texas has nice talents like Adolis Garcia, Scott Heineman, Rob Refnsyder, and potentially Leody Taveras at their disposal to help fill the void. However, it's unlikely any collection or combination of these outfielders can replicate the numbers Santana put up in 2019.

Odor missing any significant time could be damaging as well. He hasn't gotten off to a great start by any stretch. But it doesn't change the fact that Odor was right up there with Isiah Kiner-Falefa as the Rangers' best hitter in the spring and summer. For better or worse, the Rangers need to see if the changes Odor made translate over a 60-game season. He's signed through 2022 with a club option for 2023. The Rangers need him to perform on a number of levels.

There was a lot of speculation heading into the season that injuries would spike, hence the reason for expanded rosters. While the Rangers have not been affected too terribly by COVID-19, they have personally witnessed that speculation come to fruition with a number of key injuries. 

Yes, the Rangers have a lot of issues to address after seven games. Staying healthy, one way or another, is one of them.

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