5 Rangers who need to step up after unexpected Josh Jung injury blow

The Rangers need these players to up their game.
Texas Rangers infielder Josh Jung
Texas Rangers infielder Josh Jung / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Texas Rangers will be without one of their best bats for the next several weeks, or perhaps even longer. After getting hit by a pitch in Monday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Josh Jung was forced to exit and later diagnosed with a fractured wrist.

This is a major blow to a team that's already reeling from injuries at the outset of the 2024 season. The Rangers knew they'd be without the likes of Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Tyler Mahle to start the season, but Nathaniel Lowe's injury forced the Rangers to shuffle their lineup a bit, and now Jung's absence will do the same.

There's no way for one player to replace Jung's production. The 26-year-old was an All-Star during his rookie campaign a year ago, and was off a red-hot start to begin his sophomore season. But the Rangers need some players to step up with Jung headed to the IL.

Which five players will manager Bruce Bochy be leaning on until Jung returns?

Wyatt Langford, Rangers OF

It may be unfair to lump so much pressure onto a rookie, especially one whose professional track record is so limited. But the Rangers will need Wyatt Langford to step up with Jung on the injured list. Langford's impressive showing this spring helped the slugger to earn his way onto the Rangers Opening Day roster, and now he has a chance to prove just how valuable he can be.

Don't expect too much to change in terms of the position that Langford plays. The 22-year-old is an outfielder by trade, and has mainly been used as the Rangers designated hitter. That's exactly the role that Bochy and coaching staff need to Langford to focus on: hitting.

Other players on the roster will have to fill the void on defensively, but the Rangers put Langford on a plane from Arizona to Arlington because of his bat. Jung slugged .467 with 23 bombs and 70 RBI last season. Those are big shoes to fill. If Langford can just take care of the heavy lifting in the batter's box, the Rangers can find other players to man the hot corner in Jung's absence.

Jared Walsh, Rangers 1B

This wasn't the plan. Jared Walsh was a non-roster invitee to Rangers spring training, and his successful run in the Cactus League combined with Lowe's injury opened the door for the former Los Angeles Angels first baseman to snag a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Walsh was an All-Star with the Halos in 2021, but fell on hard times the past two seasons. From 2022-2023, Walsh hit just .197/.258/.355. That won't cut it. With Jung out of the lineup, the Rangers will be looking to Ezequiel Duran to grab some reps at third base. That means Bochy will be turning to Walsh more often than not at first base. Texas needs Walsh to get back to the player he was in 2021 in order to keep the team afloat while Jung is on the mend.

Ezequiel Duran, Rangers 3B

With Jung out of the lineup, it's on to the next man up. Look for Duran to get the lion's share of starts at third base during the All-Star's time away. Duran had been in line to split time with Walsh at first base, but without Jung out of the lineup, Bochy will likely turn to Duran at the hot corner.

Josh Smith is another option, and will surely see some time in the field. But Duran's bat makes him a much more plausible replacement at third base. It does mean that Walsh will get the majority of reps at first base until Lowe returns, but the Rangers will need to be flexible without Jung in the lineup.

Justin Foscue, Rangers 1B

Justin Foscue got the good news on Tuesday that he'll be taking Jung's place on the roster. Foscue was battling for a spot on the Rangers Opening Day roster this spring, but ultimately lost it to the veteran Walsh. But with Jung out of action for the foreseeable future, the Rangers top infield prospect will now get his chance in the big leagues.

Foscue was Texas' first-round pick in 2020. While Foscue didn't take to the professional ranks as quickly as Langford and fellow rookie outfielder Evan Carter, he still offers tremendous upside and will likely platoon alongside Walsh at first base. On days when Langford is playing the field, don't be surprised if Foscue gets reps as the Rangers' DH. And though Foscue has experience all over the diamond, his arm strength is questionable. The 25-year-old is limited to the right side of the infield.

Corey Seager, Rangers SS

It may seem odd to see Corey Seager's name alongside a bunch of rookies and utility players, but the Rangers will need him to step up now more than ever. Without Lowe and Jung, Texas needs one of their veterans to stand up and lead the way for the youngsters. Seager is that guy.

The Rangers shortstop has shined on the brightest stage with two World Series MVP Awards and four All-Star nods. The young players on this team look up to guys like Seager and fellow infielder Marcus Semien.

With so many moving parts on the Rangers roster, the 29-year-old will need to be the alpha in the middle of the infield; helping to put players in position and elevating his level of communication with so many young, inexperienced names now on the Rangers roster.

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