The Texas Rangers placed breakout infielder Ezequiel Durán on the injured list on Saturday because of oblique discomfort in a series of roster moves Saturday. The Rangers also placed righty Dane Dunning on the paternity list, activated outfielder Travis Jankowski from the IL, and recalled lefty Cody Bradford from Triple-A.
Durán, 24, was originally acquired as part of the 2021 deadline trade that sent Joey Gallo to the New York Yankees. In 40 games this season, he's batted .301/.340/.515 (134 OPS+) with seven home runs and eight doubles. Durán has seen action at five different positions, including 24 starts at shortstop during Corey Seager's absence.
Durán hasn't shown particularly good plate discipline (he's walked just four times in 144 plate appearances), but he's made up for it by making loud contact. He heads to the shelf ranking in the 74th percentile in average exit velocity, as well as in the 81st percentile in hard-hit rate and in the 70th percentile in barrel percentage.
With Durán sidelined since Wednesday, the Rangers have taken to playing Robbie Grossman at designated hitter and Josh H. Smith in left field. The returning Jankowski should figure into that equation as well given his surprisingly competent hitting in his first 25 games this season.
Dunning, for his part, has also performed well, albeit in a smaller sample. In 12 outings, four of them starts, he's compiled a 1.67 ERA (259 ERA+) and a 2.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 43 innings.
The Rangers enter Saturday with a 32-18 record, putting them in first in the American League West by three games. Texas, arguably the biggest surprise of the season's first two months, has the run differential to back up their strong start: their plus-122 mark stood as the best in Major League Baseball through Friday.