By CLINT FOSTER
The British government's World War II era phrase, "Keep calm and carry on," has grown somewhat cliche after it's recent re-popularization and superfluous parodies.
But, for what it's worth, there may not be a better motto for Texas Rangers fans to utter to themselves as we enter the unknown landscape that is the 2014 Rangers' season.
A more apropos slogan for the Rangers this spring could have been "Keep calm and don't hurt yourself," as the team has suffered a staggering number of injuries of varying degrees long before the first pitch of Opening Day at the Ballpark in Arlington, now named after an insurance company.
Whether by a hex from Ian Kinsler or just plain bad luck, the Rangers have lost a total of seven players to injuries this spring, not including pre-existing injuries.
Second baseman Jurickson Profar and catcher Geovany Soto are both expected to be out 10-12 weeks with a torn right shoulder muscle and right knee injury, respectively, while backup center fielder Engel Beltre has been placed on the 60-day disabled list with a fractured right tibia. Even shortstop Elvis Andrus has complained of soreness in his throwing arm, although he should be ready for Opening Day.
But no position group has been hit as hard as the Rangers' pitching staff. After Derek Holland's untimely offseason knee injury that required microfracture surgery, the Rangers lost reliever Joseph Ortiz to a broken foot and, most recently, ace Yu Darvish to neck stiffness.
This comes on top of pre-existing injuries to starters Matt Harrison – whose back has become further aggravated, possibly due to a pea under his mattress – and Colby Lewis, who are still not back to playing strength, and former closer Neftali Feliz who, although he is healthy now, has been surrounded by questions about his lack of velocity and ability to bounce back mentally from that fateful Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.