Rangers GM Has Preference For Center Field If Taveras Not Ready

The Texas Rangers might be forced to change things up in the outfield to start the season, after starter Leody Taveras was shut down with a "low-grade oblique strain." He'll be out for about another week before the Rangers can re-evaluate his situation.

But if Taveras isn't ready for Opening Day, general manager Chris Young has his druthers on who would step up and take the role. Bubba Thompson was set to be the 4th outfielder going into his second year in the majors, and Young thinks he could fill in for Taveras if necessary.

“Bubba’s a really, really talented player, whose defense is probably slightly ahead of his offense,” Young said. “But we feel very confident in his ability to be a contributing member of our team. And while recognizing that he's young and does not have much time in the big leagues, and is still developing, we think he's ready for the challenge, whether it's the beginning of the season or at some point during the season.”

The 24-year-old Thompson was a first-round selection by the Rangers in the 2017 MLB Draft (26th overall), and had a taste of the big leagues last season with 55 games and 181 plate appearances. He batted .265 with a .613 OPS and played all three outfield positions for the Rangers.

Other options to cover CF include sliding right fielder Adolis Garcia over; he's played plenty of center over the past couple of seasons. Free agent signee Robbie Grossman has also played all three outfield positions in his career, and could handle center as well. 

Clint Frazier and Travis Jankowski are non-roster invitees in camp who also could figure into the mix. 

Photo: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports