The end of the rehab road continues to draw closer and closer for Cole Ragans, and the lefthander can’t wait until he can escape the Rangers’ facility in Surprise, Ariz.
Ragans, the 30th overall pick in the 2016 draft out of North Florida Christian High in Tallahassee, threw his second session of live batting practice on April 20 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2018. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound lefthander is tentatively scheduled for his first rehab game on May 8.
A former top-five prospect in the Rangers’ system, Ragans said that he has been using all of his pitches for more than a month and has had only one minor hiccup along the comeback trail. The tightness Ragans’ experienced was normal stuff for a recent Tommy John patient, and something he quickly moved past. It was also part of a process that is different for every pitcher during the approximately 15-month rehab process.
So while he is excited to restart his career, Ragans isn’t setting any expectations because of how many tales he has heard for other rehabbers before him, as well as rehab pitching coordinator Keith Comstock.
“With Tommy John and the rehab, there were a lot of people ahead of me, so I got some good insight,” Ragans said. “He [Comstock] said everybody’s different. You can’t put high expectations because you never know where you’re going to get everything.”
Sometimes, things click right away. Sometimes, pitchers hit the 18-month mark after surgery before they feel like they did before the injury. Since moving past the setback, Ragans said he feels the best he has felt during the process.
“I’m very excited getting to face batters,” said Ragans, who is scheduled to throw four live batting practice sessions before entering games. “By the time I do it, I’ll be out of rehab and throwing games and going wherever they send me.”
— Center fielder Bubba Thompson underwent surgery on April 18 to repair a broken hamate bone in his left hand and is expected to miss four weeks. Thompson, the 26th overall pick in the 2017 draft out of McGill-Toolin (Ala.) HS, was batting just .150/.209/.200 in 40 at-bats with high Class A Down East.
— Lefthander Brett Martin, a fourth-round pick in 2014 out of Walters State (Tenn.) CC made his major league debut on April 19, pitching a scoreless ninth inning against the Astros. He allowed only one run in eight innings for Triple-A Nashville to start the season.