The Josh Jung era for the Texas Rangers is finally underway. The Texas-born native has been eyeing this moment for some time, and Jung made his presence known on Friday night at Globe Life Field in the grandest fashion against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Rangers drafted Jung in the first round (eighth overall) of the 2019 MLB draft out of Texas Tech University. Getting to the big leagues has been a long and winding road for both Jung and the Rangers. With no season in 2020 due to COVID, a stress fracture in his left foot in 2021, and a torn labrum in his left shoulder that required surgery in 2022, Jung continued to stay positive and trust the process. Once Jung was cleared to begin his rehab assignment, the Rangers sent Jung to their Rookie-level Complex in Arizona. Playing in just eight games in Arizona, Jung headed to Triple-A Round Rock, where he hit .273/.321/.525 with six home runs in 23 games before making his big league debut on Friday.
Stepping into the batter’s box for the first time, Jung described all of the emotions in a post-game interview, “I was just trying to control my heart rate the whole time. I think that was the biggest key for me tonight was just keeping the heart rate down. To just breathe, soak it all in, and I just got some good pitches to hit.” Jung got a good pitch to hit in his first major league at-bat, hitting a 388′ home run to left field with an exit velo of 102.6 mph and a launch angle of 41° off of another Texas native, former Texas A&M Aggie, Ross Stripling. Jung would go on to cap off his big league debut going 2-for-4 with a stolen base.
With hitting his first home run in his first Major League at-bat, Jung joins former Texas Ranger Jurickson Profar, who did it on Sept. 2, 2012, at Cleveland. The future is bright for Jung, as he will likely go into the 2023 season as the Rangers starting third baseman. With an infield with Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Nathaniel Lowe, and Jung, this Rangers infield is one to watch in 2023.
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