Surprise, Ariz – The Texas Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar hasn’t seen any game time yet in spring training. He was sidelined back in early February due to shoulder tendinitis. He was limited to doing only footwork at that time and is slowly making his way back to full speed. While there shouldn’t be any cause for alarm, Daniels did comment on the injury back in February.
“We don’t have a long-term concern, but with the nature of this injury, there is not much room for error in order to be ready for the start of the season,” Rangers GM Daniels said. “We want to get it knocked out.” (CBS Sports – Dayn Perry)
Slowly returning: Recently Profar has been batting in the DH spot, and has done very well. He has recorded 2 home run, one was a grand slam and is currently batting .300 over 13 games/40 at-bats. The Rangers have slowly been allowing Profar work on his throwing. He has been working in the infield and throwing about 120 feet. But the Rangers are not ready to let him play second base. Although, it is expected that he’ll start playing second base sometime late or early next week.
What’s the problem: The Rangers realize that the only way for Jurickson Profar to test out his shoulder and the strange movements involved with second base, is to play second base. Doing workouts and taking grounders doesn’t really help much. During game action, the action happens much faster and the body is moved in very strange ways. Think about it, there were several plays where Profar would catch a ball off balance, jump off the ground a bit and throw to first. That type of play is hard to replicate in practice. Also, with very little playing time with Elvis Andrus be an issue? This will be the first season that Profar will play full-time at second. In the minors, Profar played 304 games at short and only 32 at second base. Profar will now have to get adjusted to his new every day spot and make the necessary adjustments.
Chemistry: Another problem is with the continued missed time at second is he hasn’t had time to work with Elvis Andrus. Again, practice isn’t the same as game time experience. Profar only played 32 times last season. Over those 32 games, he had 4 errors, which put him well below the league average for fielding percentage. So things could get messy for a bit as Profar and Andrus work on their chemistry. It will take work for both players. Elvis had Ian Kinsler as his go to guy at second for the past 5 seasons. Elvis will have a new target at second base, and it will take a little bit of time to adjust. Now to give them both credit, both players are truly an artist at their craft, so any adjustments they make will come quickly.
What to expect: If Jurickson Profar does get started next week, that only leaves about 2 weeks of game time. That isn’t a lot of game time experience, but it will help Profar and the other infielders time to work together and improve their flow. It might not be enough time for Profar to get 100% ready for the regular season. There shouldn’t be doom and gloom when the season starts, but there will be a time or two when Elvis will make a bad throw to Profar. Maybe Profar misses the tag at second or the ball. That should be expected while Profar makes the adjustment and gets back in the rhythm from missing almost a month of spring training. So, there might be a few bad plays and errors by Profar in April, but by the end of the month, things should be moving like a well oiled machine.