Unfortunately for the Texas Rangers, the club has a long list of injuries impacting Opening Day and beyond. But the spring training injuries that are likely to have the biggest bearing on how this team does early in the season happened in the last two days.
Both Jurickson Profar and Geovany Soto are out 10 to 12 weeks. Profar tore a muscle in his shoulder and won't require surgery, but will need plenty of rest. Soto tore his meniscus in his left knee and will need surgery.
Those, of course, aren't the only injuries this spring. Matt Harrison's soft mattress has cost him the chance to open the season in the rotation. Yu Darvish has a stiff neck that calls into question whether he'll make his Opening Day start. Elvis Andrus didn't throw in the offseason and that's altered his spring and preparation for the season.
So which of these injuries will have the biggest impact?
This may surprise some of you, but I'm taking Soto. No doubt, the lack of great options to play second base makes the Profar injury a rough one for this team. But to not have the club's starting catcher for three months impacts everything from the lineup to the pitching staff as a whole.
Soto's batting average since coming to Texas is just .222. But it sure seemed like most of his hits last year happened in a big moment, didn't it? And his bat got better as last season progressed, ending up with a .245 average, nine homers and 26 RBIs in 54 games.
But let's be honest: The Rangers didn't re-sign Soto and make him the starter because of his bat. They liked they way he handled the pitching staff. Soto has worked hard to get to know each pitcher and to understand, not only what's in their repertoire and how good it is, but what makes each individual guy tick. He was very good at reading personalities and situations.
All of that matters in a backstop. Soto also made Darvish comfortable, becoming the ace's primary catcher. The numbers showed it. Darvish sported a 2.68 ERA and a .191 opponent batting average with Soto behind the plate. His ERA was more than a run higher with all his other catchers combined.
Soto and Darvish had good chemistry. I will say that J.P. Arencibia has gravitated toward Darvish -- and vice versa -- this spring. Perhaps that will help. But it's not the same as the guy who's caught more of your big league starts than anyone else. And until the last week or so, Arencibia has really struggled to find any kind of rhythm at the plate. Even the manager wasn't ready to name him the starting catcher when asked by the media in Arizona on Monday.
Soto knew this pitching staff better than anyone in camp. Now he's out for three months. It's up to Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos, who's had a great spring, to fill the void. It's an important position and a big loss for the Rangers. To me, the Soto injury has more impact than Profar.