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Chi Chi Gonzalez returns to game action

Texas Rangers 2013 first rounder Chi Chi Gonzalez pitched for the AZL Rangers yesterday, his first official game action since 2016

MLB: Texas Rangers-Media Day Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Chi Chi Gonzalez, the Texas Rangers’ first round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, pitched two innings yesterday for the Rangers’ rookie league team in Arizona. It was his first official game action since 2016 — Gonzalez was diagnosed with a torn UCL in the spring of 2017, and after rest and rehab was unsuccessful, he had Tommy John surgery last summer.

Gonzalez was perfect in his two innings of work, facing 6 batters and striking out 2 of them. He will presumably get a few more starts for the AZL club, though he may not pitch for a full season club this year due to their seasons ending in early September, around the time he’d be in line to move up.

Gonzalez has a career 4.54 ERA in 77 innings over 17 appearances in the majors. The Rangers non-tendered him after last season, then re-signed him to a minor league deal. Unlike Edinson Volquez, who signed a two year minor league deal last offseason while he rehabbed from Tommy John surgery, I believe Gonzalez is on just a one year deal. However, it sounds like the Rangers want Gonzalez to return in 2019, and its possible that they could purchase his contract before he is eligible for free agency — he is not yet arbitration eligible, and I believe he has an option remaining, so he could be on the 40 man roster next year while making the league minimum and being eligible to be optioned. Even if the Rangers don’t add him to the 40 man before he becomes a free agent, however, there seems to be a good chance he re-signs with Texas for the 2019 season.