Jonathan Hernandez

#72 RP / Texas Rangers / EXP: 1YRS Height: 6-2 Weight: 175 lb Age: 25 College: None Bats/Throws R/R

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  • Hernandez underwent Tommy John surgery Monday, Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News reports. Hernandez was seen as one of the favorites to close for the Rangers this season before spraining his UCL in early March. The issue hasn't progressed as the team hoped, so he'll now miss the entirety of this season as well as roughly half of the 2022 campaign. With several other injuries striking the Rangers' bullpen, veteran Ian Kennedy has picked up the team's two saves thus far.

  • Hernandez (elbow) landed on the 60-day injured list Tuesday. Hernandez looked to have a chance to close games this season before being diagnosed with a UCL sprain in early March. His return timeline remains unclear, but he'll be out until the end of May at the earliest. There's still a chance he picks up saves in the back half of the season with Jose Leclerc ruled out for more than a year due to Tommy John surgery, but he'll have to prove his health and effectiveness before reentering that conversation.

  • Hernandez was diagnosed with a low-grade UCL sprain Tuesday and won't throw for at least four weeks, Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News reports. Hernandez isn't currently expected to require surgery, but he'll likely miss a meaningful portion of the regular season. He won't throw until early April at the earliest and will need several weeks to build his arm back up once he's cleared to do so, making late May the most realistic target date for Hernandez to make his 2021 debut. That's bad news for the Rangers, as Hernandez was expected to be at minimum a high-leverage reliever, and at best, the team's top candidate to close games. Jose Leclerc now seems to have a clearer path to reclaiming that role after he missed most of last season due to shoulder issues.

  • Hernandez will start the Rangers' fourth spring game Wednesday against the Angels, Kennedi Landry of reports. Hernandez is not on the radar as a starter, so the decision to have him open a Cactus League game carries little significance. He's expected to serve a key role at the back end of the bullpen, possibly even as the closer.

  • Hernandez was mentioned as a possible closer by manager Chris Woodward, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Hernandez had a breakout season in 2020, sporting a 2.90 ERA and 1.03 WHIP over 31 innings. Although he did not have a save opportunity last year, Hernandez often pitched in high-leverage situations earlier in the games for three or more outs. Woodward refused to commit to Jose Leclerc as the team's closer and is mulling over different options for his closer or a no-roles bullpen where usage is determined by game factors.

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