Jurickson Profar felt some shoulder soreness Sunday, but nobody could have guessed just how serious it was.
Profar felt some pain after attempting to turn a double play in Saturday's Cactus League game, and after some soreness lingered he had an MRI done Sunday morning to find out the cause. Profar had dealt with shoulder tendinitis earlier in camp, so it was possible that Sunday's discomfort was just an extension of that.
Instead, the MRI found a tear in the teres major muscle of Profar's right shoulder, an injury that will sideline the 21-year-old for 10-to-12 weeks. Profar will avoid surgery, but rest and rehabilitation will account for much of that off time.
Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine expressed the disappointment that many in the organization probably felt upon hearing the news.
"This is our everyday second baseman, somebody we expected to take a major step forward in his career," Levine told MLB.com. "Hopefully he'll be a weapon in the second half of the season."
The timetable projects to early June, so the Rangers will have to make do without their starting second baseman for at least two months. Profar was slated to be the team's starter at the keystone after Ian Kinsler was shipped to Detroit for Prince Fielder over the winter.
In his stead, the Rangers will hope to get production from at least one of a handful of options at the position. Josh Wilson was likely going to make the team as a utility infielder so he would seem to be the leader of the pack, but Wilson turns 33 on Wednesday and has just 357 at-bats at the major league level in his career. Adam Rosales, Brent Lillibridge and Kensuke Tanaka were among the other underwhelming options listed by MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan in his article.
Easily the most intriguing possibility is 20-year-old Rougned Odor. The team's top second base prospect and the fourth-best prospect in the organization, according to MLB.com, would be making a big jump, as he's logged just 134 at-bats above Class-A ball. But his all-around game -- he stole 31 bases and smacked 11 home runs while batting .303 in the minors last season -- packs more upside than any of the Rangers' other options. In 17 spring at-bats, Odor batted .294/.368/.353.
When asked about Odor, Levine said any indication one way or the other would be speculative at this point. Keep an eye on the Rangers' actions in the coming days to get a better feel for how they'll fill Profar's shoes.
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For (Fifth) Starters
Some position battles have long been decided and some are still going on, but a few fifth starter competitions came to an end over the weekend.
Yordano Ventura handily won his competition with Danny Duffy for KC's job earlier in spring, but another hard-throwing youngster, Carlos Martinez, will begin the year in the bullpen after Cardinals manager Mike Matheny announced Joe Kelly will be the team's fifth starter to start the year.
It's hard to say the decision was merit-based, as Martinez dominated his Grapefruit League competition en route to a 1.76 ERA and 0.72 WHIP over 15 1/3 innings while Kelly struggled to a 6.28 ERA over one fewer inning of work. Matheny said the decision had more to do with Martinez' ability as a reliever than any shortcomings as a starter.
"I believe he's going to be a starter and I believe he's going to be a very good one," Matheny told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "But right now, we need him to help our club out of the bullpen."
In Tampa, Jake Odorizzi beat out Erik Bedard and Cesar Ramos to be the Rays' fifth starter. Odorizzi posted a 3.75 ERA over 12 innings of work this spring. Ramos will be utilized out of the bullpen by the Rays, but Bedard has an opt-out clause in his contract that he's considering exercising in hopes of finding a major league job somewhere else.
Johnson Out For A Month
Josh Johnson's tenure with the Blue Jays was a disaster, and his one-year run with the Padres is off to a bad start as well.
Johnson will miss at least a month after it was discovered Saturday he'd suffered a strained flexor muscle in his right forearm. Johnson will be shut down for 10 to 14 days before any decisions on a course of action will be made.
"We'll re-evaluate at that time, and hopefully the pain and soreness have subsided from that time," Padres manager Bud Black told MLB.com. "[Hopefully] we'll get him on a throwing program and get him back up to speed."
The Padres have a few options to replace Johnson, headlined by prospect Matt Wisler and second-year player Robbie Erlin. Wisler probably has the higher ceiling of the two, but it's likely Erlin gets the first shot at the job -- he's already on the team's 40-man roster, he's two years older and he owns more experience than the 21-year-old Wisler. If adding one pitcher in an NL-only league, Erlin appears to be the one to buy.
Contract extension talks, both real and potential, were in the news over the weekend.
The big news came out Sunday, when the Tigers announced a "substantial, long-term contract offer" extended to Max Scherzer had been rejected. ESPN's Jayson Stark reported the potential deal was in the neighborhood of Justin Verlander's $25.7 million average annual value.
Shortly after the team released the statement, Scherzer's agent, Scott Boras, clarified that it was the club, not Scherzer, who did the rejecting. Boras claimed that Scherzer's camp extended an offer to the team that would make him among the highest-paid pitchers in the game, which the team turned down. However the negotiations played out, they're now over and Scherzer is poised to hit the free agent market after the season.
In happier news, an extension did get done between the Red Sox and slugger David Ortiz. After expressing a desire to work out an extension over the winter, Ortiz got just that when he agreed to a one-year, $16 million deal that will keep Ortiz in Boston through the 2015 season. At 38, it may be the last contract Ortiz signs.
Ian Desmond did not sign a reported multi-year contract worth $90 million extended to him by the Nationals, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported. Desmond will remain under the team's control for two more years before hitting the open market, so it's still a possibility the two sides can come to an agreement in the future. And while Miguel Cabrera may wind up signing an extension with the Tigers, it likely won't be any time soon. The two sides have begun talks on such an extension, but they're only preliminary at this point.