Pitching depth for the Texas Rangers took another hit on Friday, as the team confirmed that they’d be without left-hander Joe Ortiz for at least three months. The 23 year old suffered a fractured bone in his left foot after being struck by a motorcycle in Venezuela, according to Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest.
No other details about the incident appear available other than knowledge that Ortiz was not on the bike at the time of the incident, but was a pedestrian when he was hit.
Ortiz, who’d originally signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2006, made his MLB Debut with the Rangers this past season, appearing in 32 games with the team. He’d post a 4.23 ERA and 1.254 WHIP over 44.2 IP. His splits weren’t noticeable in either direction and he struck out just 5.1/9.
In the minor leagues, however, he’d been much more effective. Over seven seasons he’s pitched to a 2.35 ERA and 1.077 WHIP, with a 9.1 K/9 rate.
Texas already seemed likely to head into the season with Neal Cotts, Robbie Ross, and Michael Kirkman in the bullpen. All pitch from the left side. All have more experience and a stronger track record than Ortiz. He’d likely have been ticketed for Triple-A to begin the year, but ultimately would have been one of Texas’ first options in the event that they needed to reach into their organizational depth. Three months puts Ortiz out at least through April, which ultimately isn’t so bad if he’s able to return without further setback to provide the depth the team will need.