Last week, Texas Rangers general manager Chris Young hinted that relief pitcher Jose Leclerc would be sidelined long-term after the 27-year-old reported elbow soreness and discomfort.
Per Kennedi Landry of the official MLB website, Young confirmed on Monday that Leclerc will undergo Tommy John surgery, as many expected, and will miss the 2021 season. Adam J. Morris of Lone Star Ball projects Leclerc could be out until June 2022.
This is the latest tough break for the right-hander who recorded 12 saves in 2018 and 14 the following year but who was then limited to only two appearances during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season because of a shoulder injury. When speaking with reporters last week, Young explained the Rangers were "really kind of caught off guard" upon learning of Leclerc's latest setback.
According to Spotrac, club options could allow the Rangers to retain Leclerc's rights through 2024.
Last week, manager Chris Woodward suggested he could use a "closer by committee" strategy for at least the opening month of the campaign. In a piece published on Sunday, Landry named Matt Bush and Ian Kennedy as candidates to emerge as Texas' closer later this spring.