Texas Rangers injury news: The pitching depth for the Rangers took another hit today as the club announced that both reliever Matt Bush and longman/spot starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx each underwent surgery recently.
The announcement revealed that Bush had a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow which required surgery that was performed on Wednesday and will cause him to miss the first half of the 2019 season.
The mending of Bush wasn’t classified as Tommy John Surgery since he didn’t need his ligament to be replaced but it’s still a significant setback for Bush as he will miss essentially an entire year of big league action.
Bibens-Dirkx avoided arm surgery but did have an operation performed on his left knee to repair partially torn cartilage. Unlike Bush, Bibens-Dirkx is expected to be ready to Spring Training.
Bibens-Dirkx was a feel good story in 2017 as the 33-year-old made his MLB debut with Texas last season after a career toiling away as a journeyman in the minor leagues and indy ball. In 2018, Bibens-Dirkx has been counted on to essentially be rotation and long relief depth when the Rangers needed an arm to come up and give them innings.
Indeed, Bibens-Dirkx’s 45.0 innings pitched is the just outside the top ten in innings tossed by a Rangers pitcher in 2018.
32-year-old Bush’s story is well documented as the former first overall pick shortstop by the Padres in the 2004 draft was converted to pitcher in between stints in prison. The Rangers found him in a Golden Corral parking lot, signed him, and he made his way to the squad to become a key member in the back of the bullpen for the Rangers in 2016.
Bush wasn’t quite as effective in 2017 and then completely fell off this season with 4.70 ERA in 21 innings with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. He eventually hit the disabled list on June 13 and wasn’t able to make it back to the big leagues before succumbing to his injury.