Willie Calhoun is expected to miss the start of the season because of a hip strain, a setback for the Texas Rangers left fielder who was ready to play after recovering from a broken jaw sustained in a spring training game more than four months ago.
”Just given the calendar, there’s a good chance he’ll miss a little bit of time right at the beginning. I’m hopeful it won’t be more than a few days or a week,” general manager Jon Daniels said Wednesday.
Calhoun exited an intrasquad game Monday night because of a sore hip, and an MRI revealed a Grade 1 strain in a small muscle. Daniels said that muscle needs enough time to properly heal or Calhoun would be at risk of missing extended time.
So after being on track to not miss any regular-season games because of the broken jaw, Calhoun could now start the season on the injured list because of the hip issue. The Rangers open their pandemic-delayed 60-game season July 24 at home against Colorado.
”He could probably get out there and give you a good at-bat,” Daniels said. ”It’s just the concern, does he put himself at risk coming out of the box or running the bases, where it’s just the adrenaline and wanting to compete, and not allow himself to kind of protect that muscle.”
The Rangers sounded more hopeful about Robinson Chirinos after he got hurt in that same intrasquad game Monday, with Daniels expressing optimism that the veteran catcher would avoid the injured list. Chirinos rolled his right ankle while taking a throw when teammate Scott Heineman hit him while sliding into the plate.
Manager Chris Woodward said Chirinos was walking ”pretty normal” on Wednesday.
”We’re still kind of hopeful on that end,” Woodward said. ”We may have dodged a bullet there. We’ll take it day by day.”
Chirinos returned as a free agent to Texas, where he played from 2013-18, after playing last season for the AL champion Houston Astros.
Calhoun was hit in the face by fastball during a spring training game March 8, four days before MLB shut down all training camps because of the coronavirus pandemic, and just over two weeks before the season was supposed to start. The broken jaw would have kept him out until at least mid-June, but the shutdown gave him an extended time to heal from that.
The Rangers acquired Calhoun three years ago in a midseason trade that sent pitcher Yu Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Calhoun hit .269 with 21 homers and 48 RBIs in 83 games last season, and became the primary left fielder when the Rangers traded outfielders Delino DeShields Jr. and Nomar Mazara over the winter.
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