Sam Huff Not Fazed By Injury Setback
Catcher Sam Huff didn't do much this year in his second big league spring training. A strained left hamstring suffered early in camp made sure of that.
The thought, though, was that he would be fine for Opening Day at Triple-A Round Rock, where he was likely to begin the season even if he had made it through camp without issue.
Now, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Huff seems to be permanently stuck at the team's spring complex in Surprise, Ariz.
The 23-year-old had surgery on his right knee in late April to clear a loose body from the joint. It was a simple procedure, but one that nevertheless will cost the 2016 seventh-rounder from Arcadia High in Phoenix the first eight weeks of the minor league season and potentially keep him from catching in 2021.
Rangers general manager Chris Young said that Huff badly wants to get his season going, but otherwise is in good spirits considering his bad injury luck.
And there's something else, according to Young: Not all is lost this season.
Huff can develop an understanding of how to cope with injuries, from the initial shock to the rehab assignment.
"Sam is in a wonderful place mentally," Young said. "He is obviously disappointed this happened. Nobody wants to have this. He's champing at the bit to play.
"But in terms of the maturity that he has shown, the way he has handled the tough news here, it's just another part of his journey."
The same goes for top prospect Josh Jung, who was expected to be out until late May or early June after recovering from surgery in March to stabilize a stress fracture in his left foot.
Even if Huff can't catch, he could get plenty of at-bats as a DH. He hit .355 with three home runs in 10 games last season but is still strikeout prone and could iron that out in the minors and potentially in the majors later in 2021.
— The Rangers used the alternate training site to get their first glimpse at outfielder Carl Chester, who was the player to be named in a six-player December trade with the Rays. The 12th-rounder out of Miami in 2017 showed power, including a walk-off homer in an exhibition game against the Astros.
— Righthanders Jake Lemoine and Cole Uvila made a case at the alternate site to pitch in the majors this season. The key for both, but especially Uvila, is commanding the fastball. If the 40th-round pick in 2018 out of Georgia-Gwinnett is ahead in the count, he can use his wipeout breaking ball to put hitters away.