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Elephant Rumblings: Rangers’ Corey Kluber out at least a month; Astros lose Ryan Pressly

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MLB news roundup

Colorado Rockies v Texas Rangers
Did the Rangers have to borrow jerseys from the Royals?
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

In the baseball world this week, all eyes are on the situation surrounding the Miami Marlins, who have seen an outbreak of positive coronavirus tests on their team that has led to games being postponed for further testing. Miami’s home opener against the Orioles wasn’t played Monday, and even Philadelphia will sit out again Tuesday as well after the Phillies played the Marlins over the weekend and were thus exposed.

In the purest baseball terms, leaving aside the obvious primary human element of people’s lives and health, the presence of the pandemic hanging over this season brings with it the fear that any particular player could suddenly test positive and be lost from competition for two weeks — nearly a quarter of the short schedule. But with so much attention on that danger, it’s easy to forget that regular ol’ injuries are also still a thing to watch out for.

The Texas Rangers were reminded of that over the weekend, as pitcher Corey Kluber exited his debut start early with shoulder trouble. It turns out that Kluber has a “grade 2 tear of the teres major muscle,” reports Levi Weaver of The Athletic. He won’t need surgery, but will sit out a month before reevaluating, with the hope of returning to the bullpen late in the season.

It’s a tough blow for Kluber, who made only seven starts in 2019 due to various other injuries. It’s also a setback for the Rangers, who bought low on the two-time Cy Young winner last winter in the hope of developing another bounce-back star for their already strong rotation. They’ll have to make a tough decision on Kluber’s $18 million contract option next winter, after two straight years on the shelf for the right-hander.

The other Texas-based team is also dealing with the injury bug, as the Houston Astros are without another star pitcher. They’d already lost defending Cy Young winner Justin Verlander to a forearm strain over the weekend, and on Monday they announced that All-Star reliever Ryan Pressly is out with elbow soreness, reports insider Brian McTaggart. Fellow All-Star reliever Chris Devenski, who last pitched Sunday, is also dealing with elbow issues. The Astros have tons of pitching depth to help cover for the absences, but at some point the missing stars do begin to add up, even for a juggernaut.

On top of all that, the Los Angeles Angels got a scare on Monday in their game against the Oakland A’s, with further details still to come. In the 9th inning, shortstop Andrelton Simmons beat out an infield single but stumbled on the base, turning his ankle and then exiting the game for a pinch-runner. He’s still being evaluated, but it’s worth noting he sprained the same ankle last year and missed substantial time.

There will always be injuries in sports, but hopefully these ones don’t turn out to be too bad and the players can get back on the field as soon as possible. There’s enough else to worry about health-wise these days, without adding pitchers’ elbows and shoulders to the list.

The A’s host the division rival Rangers and Astros at the Coliseum from Aug. 4-9, and then visit them both in Texas from Aug. 24-30. Here’s the full schedule.

A’s Coverage:

MLB News, & Interest

Yesterday Game Highlights

Monday: Win! And a shutout, thanks to this guy!

Plus a bat flip for insurance

Best of Twitter

Second day of postponements after the Marlins’ coronavirus outbreak

Slow testing seems to be a running (walking?) theme

Commmish remains optimistic (which can sometimes last entire days at a time with him)

It will be tough to measure in this specific case since the Marlins weren’t competitive to begin with

Notable signing in Washington

Cal guys all wearing their masks (well, Canha’s doesn’t count I guess since it doesn’t cover his nose)

A’s first two trips are to just Seattle this weekend (Fri-Mon) and then three-city LA/SF/AZ in mid-August. Then Texas at end of August.

“Now I’d like to address our fans, all those dedicated cutouts and oversized teddy bears who stick with us every day because they’re inanimate and can’t leave ...”