Teammate’s injury likely to open up opportunity for Rangers’ Yang Hyeon-jong

May 10, 2021

A teammate’s misfortune could mean an opportunity for Texas Rangers’ pitcher Yang Hyeon-jong.

The Rangers announced Sunday (U.S. local time) that they’ve placed right-hander Kohei Arihara on the 10-day injured list with a right middle finger contusion.

it’s the same injury that held him out of his scheduled start last Wednesday. Yang filled in as the starter in that game against the Minnesota Twins, striking out eight in 3 1/3 innings of one-run ball.

Arihara returned to the rotation Saturday, and Yang moved back into the bullpen, where he began his major league career last month. But Arihara pitched only 3 2/3 innings and will now miss a minimum 10 days.

His absence may mean at least another spot start for Yang, who has a 2.25 ERA across 12 innings so far. He has struck out 13 and walked two.

Yang signed with the Rangers in February after 14 seasons with the Kia Tigers in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). Yang was an MVP-winning starter in the KBO but didn’t crack the Rangers’ rotation out of camp this year.

Kolby Allard, who has made seven relief appearances this year, is another candidate to make a start in Arihara’s place. Allard has a 3.52 ERA in 15 1/3 innings.

Wes Benjamin, who made the Opening Day roster but was optioned to the minors following three bullpen outings, could be recalled to make a start with the big league club.

“We’ll figure out who fits into the slot, whether it’s Yang or we can actually recall Benjamin,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said in his Zoom media conference, prior to a 10-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners. “There’s a few different options, obviously, with Kolby Allard as well. So we’re going to talk it over.”

The Rangers have Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles lined up to start the next two games. They will have a day off on Wednesday and then visit the Houston Astros for a four-game series.