Texas Rangers

Rangers Reaction: Andrus' broken elbow the worst blow in a 4-10 start to the season

Jeff Banister: I don't have a big enough vocabulary to tell you how I feel right now

Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister discusses the broken right elbow suffered late Wednesday by shortstop Elvis Andrus. He has never been on the disabled list in his career.
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Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister discusses the broken right elbow suffered late Wednesday by shortstop Elvis Andrus. He has never been on the disabled list in his career.

The Texas Rangers won't play baseball Thursday for the first time this season, and in so doing they will become the 30th of the 30 MLB teams to enjoy an off day.

Boy, do they need it. Actually, they needed it Wednesday.

Pretty much everybody who has had a stake in the Rangers this season could use one.

The faithful fans need a break. The disgruntled fans need a break. The beat guys need a break from disgruntled fans on Twitter.

Maybe break isn't the right word, considering the circumstances.

The Rangers will leave Friday morning for their three-game weekend series in Houston. They plan on arriving early enough to play that night.

Until then, everyone needs to make the most of the Thursday off day. Like finding Mr. Miyagi so that he can perform his bone-healing magic.

Here's some Rangers Reaction from a 7-2 loss Wednesday to the Los Angeles Angels.

1. At some point, Elvis Andrus was going to hit the disabled list in his career. He hasn't done it yet, but he will be on it no later than Friday.

The shortstop, the Rangers' No. 3 hitter, a should-have-been-an-All-Star in 2017, was hit below the right elbow by a 96 mph fastball from Angels right-hander Keynan Middleton, and preliminary x-rays show a fracture in the elbow.

The injury comes a day after second baseman Rougned Odor and right-hander Doug Fister were placed on the disabled list. Center fielder Delino DeShields has been on the DL since March 31.

The Rangers are 4-10 and don't have their three starters up the middle, and won't get any of them back for at least 10 days. That will be DeShields, who is trying to race back from a broken left hamate bone.

Odor will miss three weeks with a strained left hamstring. The length of Andrus' recovery won't be known until he has more x-rays and a CT scan Thursday, but this feels like he will miss months instead of weeks.

Andrus is batting a team-best .327 this season and also leads the team in on-base percentage (.426) and slugging percentage (.500).

"You have one of your best players with just an absolutely unfortunate injury," left-hander Cole Hamels said. "You don't want to see this type of injury to such a main part of your team, and, obviously, the heart of the order, right up the middle, a shortstop."

The Rangers will replace Andrus with Jurickson Profar, who has been filling in for Odor at second base. Profar didn't want to talk about what the Andrus injury means for his future.

It seemed like Profar wanted to cry.

"You know what happened to Elvis," he said. "I'm feeling terrible. I don't want to talk about that."

Manager Jeff Banister opened his postgame presser with the news.

"I feel there is a group of guys in that clubhouse that will find a way," Banister said. "You don't replace guys like this. He's such a huge part of the lineup, on the field defensively, leadership. We'll know more tomorrow, however, in the interim, there is a toughness that you have to have as a group, as a team, as an organization to move through things like this."

Andrus declined comment, saying he wanted to wait until all the tests are performed and a diagnosis is made. But he is going on the disabled list for the first time in his career, and it's a massive blow to a team that was already reeling.

2. Profar to shortstop is one of the adjustments needed in the wake of Andrus' injury, but then what?

The Rangers have options, some better than others.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa could suddenly be the full-time second baseman, though Drew Robinson has played there in his career. Robinson, though, is the primary center fielder with DeShields out, but Carlos Tocci could take over that position.

Willie Calhoun and Ronald Guzman are position players on the 40-man roster.

The Rangers could attempt to mend fences with Trevor Plouffe, who was granted his release Tuesday from Triple A Round Rock.

Outfielder Destin Hood could be added to the roster if the Rangers want Robinson to play second base. Ryan Rua could move from left field to center field, where he has played sparingly, and Hood could become the left fielder.

Another possibility is moving Nomar Mazara to left field, something the Rangers don't want to do, and reinstall Shin-Soo Choo as the primary right fielder. Calhoun, who is limited defensively, could become the primary designated hitter.

To add Hood or Plouffe or Hanser Alberto would require opening a 40-man spot. That can be accomplished by putting Andrus on the 60-day DL.

This is authentic frontier spit-balling, but that's what the Rangers were doing late Wednesday.

3. Odor was back in the clubhouse Wednesday, and he made a shocking disclosure: He has yet to change one of his newborn daughter's diapers.

Being a dad is great, he said. Being on the disabled list isn't, he said.

Another thing Odor hasn't done is second-guess his decision to not go on the MLB paternity list. Players can take three days to be with their family for the birth of a child, and that option was open to Odor.

He wasn't open to it. He chose to play the day after his baby was born on no sleep except for a 30-minute nap before Sunday's game. His left hamstring popped Monday on about three or four hours' sleep.

Maybe he's not on the DL if he goes on the PL?

"Maybe I take three days off and I come back and I get hurt," Odor said. "We're not playing the way we want, so I didn't feel like that was the right time to take three days off."

The Rangers were disappointed to see Odor injured at a time they believe his bat was heating up. He was in a 6-for-18 stretch and had just taken his fourth walk of the season prior to the injury.

He was in a good place, Banister said. Odor thinks he can pick up where left off, even if he's off three weeks.

Based on his most recent season, that seems like a stretch. But it is a new season, and Odor was trending the right way.

At this point, the Rangers will take even a moderate improvement from Odor over his dismal 2017.

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