Texas Rangers: Willie Calhoun could be ready for start of season
By Kenneth Nash
Texas Rangers outfielder Willie Calhoun seems to be recovering well from his fractured jaw and could be ready for the start of the season following delay.
Willie Calhoun’s fractured jaw at the hands of a Julio Urias 95-mph fastball happened just 10 days ago but feels like an eternity after the wild news cycle prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite a shocking injury that often can prompt concerns of the worst case scenario, the Texas Rangers left fielder could be ready to go by the start of the season which now looks to be delayed until at least May.
It’s hard to say that the pandemic which has swiftly made its impact known in the sports world has a silver lining but being able to start the season with Calhoun in the lineup would be a plus. TR Sullivan of MLB.com reported that Calhoun made the trip back to Texas alongside the rest of the Rangers players. Sullivan also noted that Calhoun is not exhibiting other symptoms in regards to the fractured jaw.
Calhoun was set to be a cornerstone piece of the Rangers lineup in 2020 after a sort of breakout campaign last year. After starting the season in the minors, Calhoun emerged to hit .269 in 83 games and posted an .848 OPS with 21 home runs. With his ability at the plate and work on his defensive impact in left field, the Rangers doubled down on Calhoun’s role with the club trading Nomar Mazara to the Chicago White Sox this offseason in a bid to afford the 25-year old more at-bats.
Entering the spring, Calhoun and Joey Gallo were considered the two most important hitters in the Rangers lineup and following Calhoun’s injury, the Rangers were in danger of scrambling to find an Opening Day left fielder. The assumed solution would be to try Nick Solak in left field but the questions over his defense would be more concerning that Calhoun at this point. If Calhoun is back to open the year that does leave Nick Solak in limbo with regards to a spot in the lineup. Luckily, or unluckily depending how you look at it, Texas will have at least another month to try and sort through their lineup mishaps. One thing is for sure, if Willie Calhoun is healthy, he will be on Chris Woodward’s lineup card come Game One.