More ups and downs for Rangers catching prospects this offseason. Mike Nickeas rebounded from a lousy full-season debut at AA in 2005 with a great AFL campaign, posting a .425/.468/.675 line.
But while Nickeas was bouncing back, 2005 third round pick Taylor Teagarden took a big step back, as he underwent Tommy John surgery last week.
T-J surgery is obviously less damaging for a positional player than for a pitcher, and the rehabilitation time is not as long. However, it is still a procedure that puts a player on the shelf for a while, and the organization is apparently planning on Teagarden missing at least some, if not all, of the 2006 season.
Teagarden, the former UT-Austin catcher, had an impressive debut, and it looked like he was going to start the season at high-A Bakersfield, hot on the heels of Nickeas, who is likely looking at a return engagement at AA Frisco. As it stands now, though, he'll probably spend much of 2006 at the Rangers' Surprise, Arizona, complex, rehabbing his elbow.
For what it is worth, I doubt that Teagarden's injury will have much of an impact on Gerald Laird's availability this offseason. Teagarden was a couple of years away even before the injury, so him going down shouldn't make a difference in terms of whether Laird stays or goes.