Texas Rangers relief pitcher Jonathan Hernandez has been diagnosed with what is being described as a “low grade” UCL sprain, per the beat guys. The reports are that he will be shut down for the next four weeks and then re-evaluated, though initial indications are that surgery won’t be necessary.
This is...bad. Really f——— bad. Hernandez took big strides last season, and was one of the really bright spots for the Rangers heading into 2021, as he appeared to be poised to become a dominant late inning reliever. Instead, he will now be on the shelf until probably June at the earliest.
Hernandez will almost certainly land on the 60 day injured list, which would open up a 40 man roster spot to add someone like Spencer Patton or Ian Kennedy at the start of the season. It also opens up another spot in the bullpen for someone, whoever that might be.
Also, I know that there will be a chorus of “why not undergo Tommy John surgery now and get it out of the way rather than waiting?” complaints. The answer is that TJS is a major surgery with no guarantees of returning at the same level, and at this point the indications are that the strain isn’t serious enough to necessitate Tommy John surgery. He might end up needing it, but if it isn’t necessary now, there’s no reason to do it now.