Texas Rangers late-inning reliever and former closer José Leclerc will undergo Tommy John surgery on Tuesday according to general manager Chris Young. Leclerc was a likely candidate to start the season on the 60-day IL when it was revealed last week he had suffered an elbow injury. In today's press conference, the worst case scenario was confirmed as Leclerc is set to miss the entirety of the 2021 season.
This news comes on the heels that Johnathan Hernández, who was slotted in as the 2021 closer, will being undergoing an MRI next week on his elbow according to Young. At the beginning of March, Hernández went down with a UCL "sprain" and one can only hold out hope that he won't suffer the same fate as Leclerc. Once thought to be a strength heading into the season, the Rangers bullpen has seen quite the shakeup due to numerous injuries.
Not only will Leclerc and Hernández miss significant time, but the likes of Demarcus Evans, Joe Palumbo and Brett Martin will also miss Opening Day.
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With the injuries to the penciled in closer and set-up man, Texas will have to turn towards veterans Matt Bush and Ian Kennedy for late innings and high leverage situations. Both players have had solid springs and both will be looking to have a bounce back season.
Additionally, it will give younger players such as Brett de Geus, Kyle Cody and Josh Sborz the opportunity to pitch at the Major League level and will allow the team to get a good look at the potential future.