The Texas Rangers didn’t have to wait long for their first dilemma of the 2016 campaign. Five-time All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton showed up to the Spring Training facilities in Surprise, Arizona, complaining about pain in his left knee and will now begin the season on the disabled list.
The controversial outfielder will undergo stem cell and platelet-rich plasma injections, which will cause him to be on crutches for approximately seven to ten days following the injections. Hamilton is known for being injury prone, but no Ranger fan expected him to appear on the DL this early in the season. So how will this affect the Rangers?
Surprisingly enough, this injury wont affect the Texas Rangers all that much. But since the 35-year-old hasn’t produced any impressive numbers since the 2012 season, and seems to be on the DL as much as on the field, Ranger fans might be actually breathing a sigh of relief.
Since we might not see Hamilton patrolling the outfield until early May, this opens up a spot for the Rangers top prospects to come in and prove they are worth the spotlight. Players such as Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo might arrive to the big leagues sooner than expected, adding more young talent to the already dangerous lineup Jeff Banister chalks up.
Gallo has already exited Ranger fans, leaving them riled up for his arrival back to the big club. He is projected to back up Adrain Beltre at third base this year, but with Hamilton out there’s a strong possibility he could play some games in left field for the defending AL West champs.
The Texas Rangers would like to see Nomar Mazara get some more at-bats at Triple-A Round Rock before his call to the show. But now the belief is that the highly-touted prospect will be able to conquer the big stage right from the start due to Hamilton’s injury. Hamilton is set to be on an eight-week rehab program, clearing a path for the 20-year-old to potentially arrive at Globe Life Park for Opening Day.
Another reason the Rangers wont be hurt by Hamilton’s injury is because of the money invested in him. Most of Hamilton’s salary is coming out of Angels owner Arte Moreno’s pocket, allowing the Rangers to not be financially devastated by the loss of their middle-of-the-lineup power presence. Hamilton was already marked down as a day-to-day type player, but with his medical past, the Rangers should always have a plan B ready to spring into action.
With Spring Training underway, yet another appearance by Josh Hamilton on the DL should come as no surprise; but fans and staff are left with one question: who will fill that spot? One thing is for certain, the Texas Rangers have a strong enough depth chart to allow this injury to not even put a dent in the Rangers starting nine.