The injuries continue to pile up this spring for the Texas Rangers.
Geovany Soto is the latest to join the list. The No. 1 catcher in camp underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove a small bone in his left foot Saturday morning in Texas, and is expected to be out three weeks.
Soto should be able to resume some baseball activities in 10 days and the team is optimistic he’ll be behind the plate on Opening Day. In the meantime, J.P. Arencibia will have a chance to show what he can do.
Soto had been dealing with what was believed to be soreness in his Achilles tendon. He returned to Texas for further examination by Dr. John Crates on Friday. That’s when it was discovered that Soto had a small bone, the os trigonum, pushing on his flexor tendon.
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Soto opted to have surgery to remove it rather than trying to play through the season with a series of injections.
Soto joins a list of players who have already dealt with injury setbacks, most notably starter Matt Harrison. Right-handers Neftali Feliz and Tanner Scheppers, along with second baseman Jurickson Profar, are among others dealing with injuries.
“This is an unfortunate rash of injuries we’ve sustained early in camp,” assistant general manager Thad Levine said. “Hopefully we’re getting a lot of this out of the way early and fortunately we still have meaningful time before Opening Day.”
Soto didn’t land on the disabled list last season, the first time that has happened since 2008. But he played in only 54 games serving as the backup to A.J. Pierzynski.
The Rangers re-signed Soto this off-season to be the everyday catcher this season, and brought in Arencibia as the expected second catcher on the roster. Other catchers in big-league camp include Robinson Chirinos, Brett Nicholas and Jose Felix.
“Every injury is a new opportunity for somebody to step up,” Levine said.
For Arencibia, it’s an opportunity to show his new team what he can do even though he expressed remorse to see Soto go down this early in camp. Arencibia is coming off a forgettable season with the Blue Jays, batting .194 with a .227 on-base percentage and .365 slugging percentage over 138 games.
He struggled particularly in the second half, batting .145 with five home runs and 16 RBIs. However, he did finish the season with 21 home runs, the second-most by an American League catcher, and drove in 55 runs, the seventh-most by an AL catcher.
Arencibia blamed part of his offensive struggles on trying to play through a hamstring injury, and also dealt with an off-the-field war of words with a pair of Blue Jays broadcasters.
Arencibia, 28, came to the Rangers after being non-tendered by the Blue Jays. He didn’t take it as a negative, though, viewing it in the best possible light. As Arencibia said, the Twins non-tendered David Ortiz before he became a star with the Red Sox.
“That’s something that is driving me and something I believe is going to happen,” said Arencibia, who admitted a fresh start was needed.
“Last year was tough for me. Other than having a heartbeat, I didn’t do much in the second half and there’s a reason why … I was hitting on one leg. It was a tough thing. I probably shouldn’t have tried to play through it, but even on my worst year I caught 138 games.”