Just when it looked as if the Texas Rangers would have to stop shopping catcher Jonathan Lucroy ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, Robinson Chirinos woke up Monday morning with his sprained left ankle showing significant improvement.
Chirinos could return by Wednesday after he went through a series of baseball activities a day after a collision at home plate forced him out of the finale at Tropicana Field and into a walking boot unable to put any weight on the ankle.
“I woke up today, and it felt better than I thought,” Chirinos said. “I hit in the cage. It felt like I can deal with it. The way I felt yesterday, I thought it would feel worse today.”
A DL stint would have taken him past the trade deadline and left Lucroy as the only experienced catcher on the Rangers’ roster. With Chirinos apparently avoiding a serious injury, the Rangers can still make Lucroy available.
The Rangers recalled Brett Nicholas from Triple A Round Rock, and the Rangers have toyed with the idea of going with a Chirinos-Nicholas pairing the rest of the season and using Lucroy, a free agent after the season, as a bargaining chip for bullpen help or prospects.
The Chicago Cubs reportedly have shown interest in Lucroy, who has struggled this season in his walk year. The Rangers and Lucroy tabled negotiations on an extension during spring training and haven’t revisited them.
A source said that general interest in Lucroy has been lukewarm.
Nicholas, a Triple A All-Star this year, has limited experience in the majors and has been catching for only four seasons. Always considered a threat with the bat, Nicholas’ defense has improved each season to the point that the Rangers would be comfortable with him as their backup.