Josh Jung, a top prospect for the Texas Rangers, had surgery Wednesday to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, ending the third baseman’s chance of being an option for the big league roster this spring.
Jung was lifting weights before the opening of the team’s minor league camp in Arizona when he felt discomfort in his non-throwing shoulder. He was initially diagnosed last week with a strain.
« That was the impetus for us getting a test on his shoulder, which revealed a level of damage that obviously has required surgery, » general manager Chris Young said. « The extent of preexisting damage in there, we’re not certainly sure. But all in all, we know it’s repaired at this point. »
Young said team physician Dr. Keith Meister, who performed the surgery in Arlington, Texas, described the procedure as being « straightforward » with Jung expected to make a full recovery. Jung could be available to be a designated hitter in about six months.
« This is a tough break for Josh, but given his character and work ethic, we’re fully confident Josh is going to make a full recovery and bounce back from this, » Young said.
Jung, the eighth overall pick in MLB’s amateur draft in 2019 out of Texas Tech, had a stress fracture in his left foot last spring. He hit .326 with 19 home runs and 61 RBIs in 78 games combined at the Double-A and Triple-A levels last year after missing the first two months of the season because of that injury.
With the MLB lockout ongoing, Young wasn’t able to discuss what impact Jung’s injury could have on the team’s big league roster.
The 24-year-old third baseman isn’t on the Rangers’ 40-man roster, so he was able to be in their minor league camp. It was widely anticipated that he would have been given an opportunity this spring to compete for a roster spot in the big league camp.
Even though the surgery was on his non-throwing shoulder, Jung is expected to return to hitting before playing defense. He could aggravate any recovery diving for balls in the field or extending his left arm to catch them.
In the days before the MLB lockout began Dec. 2, Texas spent a half-billion dollars in free agency to sign the middle infield of two-time All-Star shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10-year deal) and Gold Glove second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million seven-year deal).
Texas still has Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who was the starting shortstop last season after being a Gold Glove third baseman for the Rangers during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Jung’s injury likely ensures Kiner-Falefa being their starting third baseman again whenever the season starts.