Josh Jung has been added to the active roster for the Round Rock Express from the complex league squad where he has been rehabbing. Jung is playing third base for the Express this evening in their game against the Oklahoma City Dodgers, and is batting third.
Jung, as I’m sure you recall, was considered the favorite to be the Rangers’ starting third baseman this season before a shoulder injury suffered while working out necessitated surgery this spring. It was expected that Jung would miss most of the season, and would be limited to DH duties if he did get back on the field in 2022, but his recovery is ahead of schedule.
Jung put up a 945 OPS in six games for the ACL Rangers before moving up to Round Rock, and with almost two months left in the major league season, it is starting to seem likely that Jung will get some significant playing time in the majors this season. If Jung is healthy and performs at Round Rock — he had a .348/.436/.652 slash line in 35 games with the Express at the end of last season — one would expect him to be up in Texas fairly quickly.
If Jung is in the Rangers’ plans in 2023 — and I suspect they see him as Plan A at third base next year — one would assume that they’ll want him to get his feet wet and get some time in the major league clubhouse before the season ends this season. They aren’t going to call him up if he struggles at AAA, of course — but if he performs to expectations, I’d think he he’d be up before the end of August.
Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran are currently sharing duties at the hot corner, and with Bubba Thompson now in the majors and playing regularly as well, there will have to be some lineup shuffling to get the young guys you want to look at at bats if and when Jung comes up. But given the belief that he can be a meaningful part of a contending Rangers team in the very near future, Chris Woodward will find a way to get Jung at bats.