Five games into the season and the Rangers have as many victories as shoulder tears.
Two days after Corey Kluber’s season is most likely ended because of a torn shoulder muscle, the Rangers learn that closer Jose Leclerc has suffered the same fate.
It’s the same teres major muscle that torn on Kluber but, according to the Rangers, not as severe. Rangers fans have heard that tune before. Like with Kluber, Leclerc is being shut down for four weeks until he is evaluated.
With all due respect to Leclerc, his injury really isn’t as severe. You can’t just look down the bench and pluck out another two-time Cy Young winner to plug into your starting rotation. You can do that with a closer.
Unless his name is Mariano Rivera of Trevor Hoffman, closers are a revolving door. They are the best in the world. Until they aren’t. Like Neftali Feliz was. Until he gave way to Joe Nathan. Who was the man. Until it became Joakim Soria then Shawn Tolleson then Sam Dyson then Alex Claudio then Matt Bush then Keona Kela then Jose Leclerc.
Many of these batons were handed off mid-season because the closer in charge stopped being effective.
So, while the news of Jose Leclerc being lost to a shoulder tear is difficult from a human persective, the Rangers will do what they and pretty much every other team does and will do in this situation.
They will hand the ball to someone else and watch him succeed. Most likely Nick Goody. He got his first save on Wednesday.
So, as the Rangers head off to San Francisco for their first road trip in this craziest of baseball seasons—so crazy that last night the league and players agreed that any and all double headers this season would be seven-inning games instead of nine—they do so with the top of their rotation and bullpen significantly altered.
At least they can hit themselves out of any situation.
Mike Minor (0-1, 1.80) vs. TBD