Newspaper article International New York Times

Injury Bug Takes a Huge Bite out of Rangers ; Texas Entered Season Hoping to Contend but Now Is Mired in Last Place

Newspaper article International New York Times

Injury Bug Takes a Huge Bite out of Rangers ; Texas Entered Season Hoping to Contend but Now Is Mired in Last Place

Article excerpt

Texas expected to once again contend this season, but it has the worst record in the American League after player after player went down.

As he stood on second base Monday night, the Texas Rangers rookie Jim Adduci had a chance to banter with Derek Jeter, which, for a 10- year veteran of the minor leagues, was sort of a transcendent moment.

"He was just asking how I was doing," Adduci said. "But for me, you know, it's awesome."

He had spent three seasons with the Marlins organization and six with the Cubs organization, compiling nearly 3,000 minor league at- bats without a big-league call-up. But with the Rangers this season, Adduci finally found a path into the majors, albeit one lined by injuries that have left the Rangers battling attrition practically since opening day.

First basemen Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland, third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, catcher Geovany Soto, second baseman Jurickson Profar and outfielder Engel Beltre have all been felled by injuries, along with 12 pitchers who have spent time on the disabled list.

The snakebitten first half left Texas with the worst record in the American League, at 40-60 after it lost Tuesday to the New York Yankees. This comes after the Rangers won at least 87 games in five consecutive seasons. Not long ago, they were among a select few teams that seemed to be an annual playoff contender, with money to spend on prized free agents thanks to a lucrative new television contract. But the Rangers' fall has been abrupt.

At one point, they were 22 games behind the A.L. West-leading Oakland Athletics, their largest deficit so early in a season since 2003.

Last winter, the Rangers signed outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and catcher J. P. Arencibia and made a blockbuster trade for Fielder to load up their offense in the expectation of another deep postseason run.

"On paper, we had a really good team," outfielder Alex Rios said.

When the season arrived, though, the problems began. Soto and Profar, along with pitchers Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison, did not make it out of spring training healthy. Then Fielder was lost to season-ending neck surgery in mid-May. …

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