Texas Rangers outfielder Willie Calhoun had surgery to repair his broken jaw Monday, a day after being hit in the face by a fastball.
Surgeons were prepared to wire Calhoun’s jaw shut but instead installed a plate to steady the fracture, which should make for a faster recovery.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Calhoun would be released from the hospital this week, possibly Tuesday, and will be re-evaluated in two weeks, at which time Texas may get a better idea of his timetable for a return. Daniels said doctors had not yet determined if Calhoun had a concussion.
While Calhoun is almost certain to open the campaign on the injured list, Daniels characterized the outcome of the surgery as relatively positive. “Certainly, in my opinion it is,” he said.
The left-handed hitting Calhoun was hit by a first-inning fastball from Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Julio Urías — a former minor league teammate and friend of Calhoun’s.
Drafted by the Dodgers in 2015, Calhoun was traded to Texas in July 2017 in a package for Yu Darvish.
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Rangers manager Chris Woodward said Urías texted Calhoun to express concern. The 25-year-old Calhoun was airlifted to a hospital, and Woodward left Texas’ match to meet him there.
He was joined by Daniels, as well as Calhoun’s family, which had recently arrived in Arizona and was watching Calhoun play for the first time this spring. Woodward said he got emotional on the field and quickly decided to leave the match.
“I didn’t want to be there,” he said. “I didn’t want to be at that game at all.” Calhoun has previously worn a face shield on his batting helmet but stopped at some point last campaign. He was not wearing one Sunday. Woodward said he would strongly recommend to his players that they wear the guards going forward. Calhoun hit 21 home runs in 309 at-bats for Texas last year.
He had totaled three homers in 133 at-bats in his past two seasons with the Rangers. Rangers slugger Joey Gallo was on deck at the time and didn’t initially realize Calhoun had been struck in the jaw.
I’m Then he saw Calhoun grabbing at his bloody face. He said he quickly ran to Calhoun to let him know he was there and that help was on the way. “Tough to watch, tough to see,” said outfielder Nick Solak, who substituted Calhoun in the game.