Josh Smith is the Latest Utility Man to Step Up for Texas in Josh Jung's Absence

Josh Smith has filled the third base void created by Josh Jung's injury in a big way showing off this team's best attribute.
Apr 5, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers third baseman Josh Smith (8) bats during the game
Apr 5, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers third baseman Josh Smith (8) bats during the game / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Now a week or so following the Josh Jung news and as the Rangers young middle-of-the-order bat got upgraded to the 60-day IL with a wrist fracture another utility man is stepping up for Texas.

Last year, Ezekiel Duran and Travis Jankowski most notably stepped up in response to injuries. Now, early on in the 2024 season, Josh Smith is the next man up and continues to show this club's best attribute. Next man up.

Smith had a rough 2023 season hitting under the Mendoza line, posting an OPS of just .633 in 232 plate appearances. In a key year for him in regards to his future as a Texas Ranger, Smith has gotten off to a tremendous start filling in for Josh Jung as the everyday third basemen.

Smith is hitting .333 with an OPS over .800 11 games into his 2024 season. Dating back to when Jung got hurt on April 2nd; Smith has a hit in every game except one and has 7 RBIs. He had 15 RBIs all year last season.

A lot has been made with the swing and approach changed for Smith in spring training as he went into a make it or break it year with the club. Everything seems to be clicking nicely early on and in a big way as Texas needs his services more than they would like.

When Jung first went down, my first instinct was Duran as the everyday third basemen much like last year. Bochy showed no hesitation with Smith judging from his spring training promise posting an OPS of .898 in 35 games and it has paid off nicely.

What Smith is doing is just the latest example of a Texas Rangers utility man playing well exactly when the team needs it most. Last year it was Duran posting near all-star numbers when Corey Seager went down and Travis Jankowski in various spots including the World Series when Adolis Garcia went down.

Jung's timetable has gone from 4-6 weeks to about two months, maybe more, so Smith's services are going to be needed in a big way for an extended time. But at this point, the Rangers aren't missing a beat.

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