Willie Calhoun
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Willie Calhoun says he will be ready when season begins

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Last week, Rangers outfielder Willie Calhoun was hit in the face by a Julio Urías pitch in the first inning of a Cactus League game against the Dodgers. Calhoun was carted off and taken to a hospital, where a CT scan indicated a fractured jaw. He later had a plate inserted to stabilize his jaw.

In the time since, the start of the regular season has been pushed back to at least mid-May due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions. That gives Calhoun some time to recover. In fact, the 25-year-old says he will be ready whenever the season starts, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports.

It was believed at the time that Nick Solak, Scott Heineman, and/or Adolis García could have seen increased playing time while Calhoun was on the mend, but that appears to no longer be the case.

Last season, in his first run of consistent playing time in the majors, Calhoun hit .269/.323/.524 with 21 home runs and 48 RBI over 337 plate appearances. The former top prospect, who ranked as high as No. 36 in baseball according to Baseball America prior to the 2018 season, has to be exciting the Rangers and their fans despite the freak injury.

Yankees place Aaron Judge (strained calf) on IL

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NEW YORK — Yankees star Aaron Judge was placed on the injured list with a right calf strain before Friday night’s game against Boston and manager Aaron Boone is optimistic the outfielder will not miss significant time.

The move was retroactive to Wednesday and Boone described the strain as mild after an MRI revealed the injury. To replace Judge on the roster, Thairo Estrada was recalled from the Yankees’ alternate site in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Judge began Friday leading the majors with nine homers and tied with Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the major league lead with 20 RBIs.

“It’s something that I think he really wants to try and work through here and kind of wants to be out here and feels like it’s a day-to-day thing which it may very well be, but I just think obviously it goes without saying how important a player Aaron is to us,” Boone said.

Boone had said last weekend’s series on the artificial turf in Tampa Bay took its toll on the 6-foot-7 outfielder.

Judge joined Giancarlo Stanton as the second Yankees slugger to land on the injured list this. Stanton was placed on the IL with a strained hamstring after getting hurt in the second game of last Saturday’s doubleheader.

“We’ve lost two MVP-caliber players,” Boone said. “Obviously that is a blow, especially two guys that playing well as they are right now.”

Judge was pulled for a pinch hitter during Tuesday night’s win over Atlanta and didn’t play Wednesday. The Yankees were off Thursday.

The 28-year-old All-Star missed time during July’s training camp because of a stiff neck.

The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year hit 27 homers in each of the last two seasons, both of them interrupted by injuries. His right wrist was broken when he was hit by a pitch in 2018 and he went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.

Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March and would not have been ready for the season opener if the season began as scheduled on March 26.