Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus starts a rehab assignment with Frisco on Monday, June 11, 2018, the team announced today. Elvis has been on the disabled list since mid-April after suffering a fractured elbow on a pitch from Kenyon Middleton.
This is the first time Elvis has been on the disabled list or missed any significant time, and so even though Andrus could be activated from the 60 day d.l. on June 12, the plan is for him to most likely spend the week rehabbing with the AA Frisco Roughriders. He appears on track to be activated on Monday, June 18.
When Elvis is activated, the Rangers will have a couple of decisions to make. The first will be as to how to open up a 40 man roster spot for him. The most likely scenario is that Martin Perez, who is not expected to be back in the majors until the All Star Break, goes on the 60 day d.l. Alternatively, the Rangers could look to designate for assignment someone like Hanser Alberto or Brandon Mann, a depth player at AAA Round Rock.
Secondly, the Rangers will have to decide what move to make in order to open up a 25 man roster spot for Andrus. The obvious move would be to send Isiah Kiner-Falefa to AAA Round Rock. IKF has acquitted himself well since being called up, putting up a .244/.323/.347 slash line and playing quality defense at all three infield positions. However, once Elvis returns, he will be playing shortstop every day, making Jurickson Profar the utility infielder (albeit one who may be playing almost every day anyway, starting regularly at third base and second base), and there simply won’t be many at bats available for Kiner-Falefa. Sending him to AAA would allow him to play regularly, as well as give him the opportunity to resume catching periodically, which he did last year at Frisco, and was expected to do this year at AAA.
Alternatively, the Rangers could send down Rougned Odor. Odor has improved of late, but is still having what is overall an awful season. Texas could choose to have Odor go down, Profar play second base every day, and keep IKF up as the utility infielder, as well as playing third base when Adrian Beltre is at DH or sits.
Another option would be to either waive or d.l. Rule 5 pick Carlos Tocci. Tocci has scarcely played since coming off the disabled list, and cannot be sent down without clearing waivers and being offered by to his original club, the Philadelphia Phillies. This seems unlikely, however, given the Rangers have opted to keep Tocci around this long.
In any case, it appears Elvis will be back soon, which is good news. I’m ready to see him back in the lineup.