Rangers Injury Update: Josh Jung, Cody Bradford, Max Scherzer

This week, Rangers received some good news and bad news regarding the progress of several injured players.
Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays
Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

With the Rangers officially a month into the regular season, they are off to a slower start than expected, and injuries are partially to blame. The Rangers have several members of their rotation on the IL and are hoping to get them back on the mound as the current makeshift pitching staff has been struggling to win games this past month.

Left-handed pitcher Cody Bradford is among those important pieces. Bradford is in his second year with the Rangers and was given the opportunity to start the season in the Rangers rotation, at least while Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Tyler Mahle were set to come back. He did the most with the opportunity and has had a dominant start to the season, winning all three games he pitched in while carrying a stellar 1.40 ERA. Unfortunately, Bradford's was placed on the IL on April 14 due to a lower back strain. 

The Rangers were hoping Bradford would only remain on the IL for a couple of weeks, but earlier this week, it was reported his injury is more severe than the Rangers medical staff previously thought. He has a minor stress fracture in one of his ribs, which will keep him sidelined for at least the next month. This is a devastating blow for the Rangers, as Bradford was a beacon of hope for a badly weakened Rangers rotation.

Even though the Rangers received some negative news regarding Bradford earlier in the week, they got some positive news on Scherzer, who is quickly progressing from his back surgery this past winter and is hoping to make a return to the Rangers' rotation earlier than expected. 

Scherzer made his first appearance since his back surgery when he started for Rangers Triple-A affiliate the Round Rock Express this past Wednesday. His appearance was nothing to write home about, as he only made it through two innings and allowed three runs. However, fans should not be too concerned with how Scherzer performed on Wednesday. They should take it as a good sign that Scherzer should be able to return to the mound for the Rangers by sometime in June, which is much earlier than originally anticipated. 

Don't foget, there are several position players on the IL, too, including third baseman Josh Jung, who was off to a solid start to the season with the Rangers. Going into his second season, he was smashing a .412/.474/.941 line along with two homers through four games before he suffered a fractured thumb.

Jung's presence in the Rangers lineup has been missed, as the offense has been mediocre since his departure. Unfortunately, Jung is still at least a month away from returning to the field. As Bochy said this week, "He's still a ways away. Four, five, six weeks maybe. He's coming along."

At the very least, it's comforting to know Jung has not had any setbacks in his rehabilitation process. The Rangers will have to find a way to make do while their slugger remains out of the lineup, and hopefully, Josh Smith, who has been his primary replacement, can continue to put up successful at-bats as he has seemed to be able to turn things around offensively, currently sporting a career-high .293 average.

Overall, the Rangers received mixed updates on their injured players this week. Hopefully, the team can remain above .500, as it is becoming apparent that the injuries are taking a toll after they relinquished their first-place spot in the AL West to the Seattle Mariners earlier this week.