In a time where baseball news is at a premium due to the owner-imposed lockout, the latest news out of Arlington will not fall kindly on the ears of Texas Rangers fans.
Top hitting prospect and 2019 first-round pick Josh Jung was shut down at the end of last week after experiencing left shoulder discomfort while lifting weights. He was examined by team physician Dr. Keith Meister earlier this week with the evaluation indicating a labral strain.
Jung will undergo further evaluation early next week to determine a plan for treatment and how long he might be sidelined.
This is a significant blow to the Rangers' 2022 plans. The club is on the verge of pivoting away from a rebuild in order to open a window of contention, highlighted by the $500 million dedicated to signing free agents Marcus Semien and Corey Seager. Part of that plan heavily relies on the farm system producing the necessary talent to build a championship team.
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Jung's 2021 campaign was his first full season as a professional, and it was undoubtedly a success. The Texas Tech product slashed .326/.398/.592/.990 with 19 home runs and 61 RBI in 78 total games between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock. There was some expectation that Jung would make his big league debut at some point last year, but a stress fracture in his foot delayed his start to the season and derailed any hope of receiving the call to Arlington.
Jung was slated to compete with Isiah Kiner-Falefa in spring training for the everyday job at third base. Now, it's all but certain that Kiner-Falefa—who won a Gold Glove as a third baseman in 2020—will get the nod.
Promo image: Kelly Gavin / Courtesy of the Texas Rangers
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