ARLINGTON, Texas — Josh Jung can’t even describe the whirlwind of emotions he’s been through for the past seven months since shoulder surgery that reduced the best candidate’s chance to compete for a spot on the Texas Rangers roster in the United States. spring training took away.
After initially thinking that he might not play at all this season, Jung is about to make his big league-debut on Friday-evening after a month of Triple-A-games. The Rangers plan to place Jung, the eighth overall pick in Texas Tech’s 2019 draft, on their 28-man active roster for the series opener at home against the Toronto Blue Jays.
“A complete 180, going from the super high coming into camp to … I’m not going to play this year to actually go out to play games in Arizona and then go to an affiliate company and get a shot at it now.” the big leagues,” Jung said on Thursday, standing in front of his locker in the otherwise empty Rangers clubhouse on an off day for the team.
When asked if he was nervous about his debut, Jung replied, “Absolutely. It’s everything I’ve worked for all my life. So absolutely.”
Jung, 24, will likely be their first third baseman for the last 3 1/2 weeks of their season. It’s the role he expected to get the chance to win in spring training before getting injured.
His debut in the big league will come with the Rangers (59-77) heading into their sixth consecutive losing season, and weeks after baseball operations president Jon Daniels and manager Chris Woodward were fired. There are 26 games left and their next win will match their win tally from last season when they lost 102 games.
Jung was lifting weights for the opening of the team’s minor league camp in Arizona in February, before the end of the MLB lockout, when he felt discomfort in his non-throwing (left) shoulder. He was initially diagnosed with a strain, but had surgery a week later to repair a torn labrum.
“It was an ongoing conversation the whole time. I mean, from February to March, it was like I probably didn’t play this year. Week 12, Week 16, come back, started waving the bat in week 16 to see how everything was, look how my shoulder reacted,” he said. “Then the conversation started to change a bit. So between four and five months it really started. Hey, let’s see what we can do here.”
Jung hit .266 with nine homeruns and 29 RBI’s in 31 games — eight in Arizona for 23 with Triple-A Round Rock. That included hitting three-run home runs over a period of two games three times to only add to the hype — and eventually led to him taking a hiatus from social media. He also had a 1-for-17 span with 11 strikeouts and no walks.
“I went to the first two weeks of rehab and was unconscious. The next two weeks I was freezing,” Jung said. “I just had to find a balance and just get back to where my feet were. I think that was the most important thing for me. So I felt like I had to get off social media for a while.”
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