Spring training is full of hope for most players. This spring, for Josh Jung, has to be misery.
He was so close to the prize he had been working his whole life to get, only to have to wait.
He was drafted with the eighth pick in the first round of the 2019 draft, ready to embark on a pro career that, according to most baseball experts, was just teed up and ready for him to take.
Then the pandemic hit and shut down minor league baseball. His development would have to wait. Along with that, just the shear joy of competing in a baseball game was gone.
So he came into 2021 full of promise. In a system barren of talent, especially at the top, he had an outside chance to break into the big leagues at some point in 2021. The Rangers were, after all, so devoid of baseballmanship that they would lose 102 games. Certainly, that team could have find a place for an up and coming star like Jung.
Then, at the end of March, he broke his foot, setting him back about two months, and all but assuring he wouldn’t crack the big league roster anytime in 2021.
But 2022 would be a lock. The Rangers were clearing out a locker for Jung. He is the first of their prized prospects in a franchise that hasn’t had one of those in a long time.
Then, again, right as spring training was set to start, Jung tore the labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder lifting weights.
So, now Jung has to wait. In agony. It’s there. Right there. Everything he dreamed of. The Big Brass Ring. But he can’t grab it. Not yet.
Baseball can be a cruel game.