Thursday, July 18, 2024

Jon Gray injury update: Rangers pitcher lands on IL with lower forearm tightness, ALDS availability unclear

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The Texas Rangers have placed right-hander Jon Gray on the 15-day injured list with lower forearm tightness. The move is retroactive to Thursday, which means Gray would not be eligible to rejoin the active roster until Oct. 13. That, in turn, means Gray wouldn’t be eligible to return until a potential deciding Game 5 of the American League Division Series. In a corresponding move, the Rangers have recalled left-hander Jake Latz from Triple-A. 

The loss of Gray is a crucial one. This season, the 31-year-old has pitched to a 4.12 ERA (108 ERA+) and a 2.63 K/BB ratio across 29 starts and 157 1/3 innings. As for Texas’ postseason outlook, they’re on the verge of clinching a playoff berth and are likely to win the AL West and thus receive a first-round bye straight to the Division Series. It’s possible the Rangers could opt to play short a player through the first four games of the series and thus make it possible for Gray to pitch in a Game 5. However, that seems like an unlikely approach given the tactical disadvantages it would mean for the bulk of the series. 

Rotation depth for Texas was already a concern after the loss of ace Jacob deGrom to Tommy John surgery. They addressed that need in a big way leading up to the trade deadline by acquiring right-hander Max Scherzer from the Mets and left-hander Jordan Montgomery from the Cardinals. However, Scherzer also recently succumbed to injury, and his status for the postseason is uncertain. The loss of Gray compounds the playoff rotation uncertainty behind Nathan Eovaldi and Montgomery. 

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