The injuries continue to pile up for the Texas Rangers this spring.
A day after losing second baseman Jurickson Profar for at least 10 weeks, the Rangers discovered they will also be without catcher Geovany Soto for at least 10 weeks. Soto has a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee and will undergo surgery on Wednesday.
“It’s really unfortunate,” Soto said. “I feel devastated but it’s something I can’t control.”
General manager Jon Daniels said the team will look internally to fill the void. J.P. Arencibia is expected to become the everyday catcher and Robinson Chirinos will be the backup. The team will explore options to add more depth.
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“You can’t sugarcoat it, it was a tough day from the medical side,” Daniels said. “But it’s an opportunity for somebody else in each case. We’re going to look to fortify our depth and see where we go from here.”
Daniels also addressed the hole at second base, saying prospect Rougned Odor would not be the replacement. The Rangers are going to give Kensuke Tanaka a chance, as he’s in today’s starting lineup at second base.
The Rangers also lost outfielder Engel Beltre, who has a fracture in his right tibia. He will begin the season on the disabled list.
But the catching situation is most concerning in Daniels’ mind. The Rangers have several capable players to fill in at second base, but are thin at catcher. Brett Nicholas, Jose Felix and Patrick Cantwell are the only other catchers who have been in big league camp outside of Soto, Arencibia and Chirinos.
But Arencibia has proven to be a durable catcher so far in his career. He caught 115 games for the Blue Jays last season, 91 in 2012 and 118 in 2011. However, Arencibia got off to a slow start this spring.
He struggled at the plate but that has picked up recently. He has hits in five of his last six games, going 7 for 20 (.350) in that stretch.
“It’s the progression of spring training,” Arencibia said. “I’ve tried to tighten some things down and drive the ball the other way. Staying through the middle of the field is when I’m at my best.”
Arencibia has also worked extensively with hitting coach Dave Magadan to stop “leaking” with his front hip, which causes him to drop the barrel of the bat and pop up more frequently.