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Rangers expect World Series MVP Corey Seager and All-Star 3B Josh Jung ready for opening day

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — World Series MVP Corey Seager and All-Star third baseman Josh Jung are expected to be in the lineup for the Texas Rangers on opening day Thursday, even after both played in only one Cactus League game before the team broke camp from Arizona.

Seager, who had surgery for a left sports hernia repair on Jan. 30, and Jung (left calf) both played six more innings Monday night in an exhibition game in their home ballpark against Boston. Two days after both got hits in the Rangers' Cactus League finale, they were each 0 for 3 — getting an inning more than planned against the Red Sox since Seager was on deck when the fifth ended.

Manager Bruce Bochy said he planned for Seager and Jung to also play in the final exhibition game Tuesday afternoon against the Red Sox. The Rangers open the regular season Thursday night at home against the Chicago Cubs, and the manager anticipates the left side of his infield being intact.

“That's the plan,” Bochy said. “All goes well, the day off (Wednesday) comes at a good time. Both can catch their breath and be set to go opening day.”

Seager was dealing with the hernia issue during the team's postseason run to its first world championship last fall, though it didn't affect his performance. The team had hoped that the issue would subside with extended rest in the offseason, but he had surgery when that didn't happen.

Seager hit .318 with six homers, 12 RBIs and 15 walks in 17 postseason games last year. The shortstop homered three times in the World Series against Arizona, including a tying drive in the ninth inning of the opener.

Jung experienced calf discomfort while fielding ground balls on Feb. 15, a couple of days before the team's first full-squad workout in Arizona. He got a lot of live at-bats in minor league games in spring training.

“Ready to go,” Jung said before Monday's game. “Hopefully I got my one little sidetrack out of the way and we're ready to rock. ... I feel like I got what I needed to get out of spring training."

The 26-year-old third baseman, picked eighth overall by the Rangers in the 2019 amateur draft, had a stress fracture in his left foot during spring training in 2021, and the following spring had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder.

Jung was having a breakout rookie season last year when he fractured his left thumb on a fielding play against Miami on Aug. 6. He hit .274 with 22 homers and 67 RBIs and was voted by fans as an AL All-Star starter before the injury. He returned to play 13 games at the end of the regular season, then hit .308 with three homers in the playoffs.

Bochy said newly acquired starter Michael Lorenzen would throw another bullpen session Tuesday, and is still a candidate to be on the opening-day roster.

Lorenzen joined the Rangers on Friday after finalizing a $4.5 million, one-year contract. The 32-year-old right-hander, who last season was a first-time All-Star and threw a no-hitter, had been working out on his own and throwing to independent league hitters while waiting to sign a free agent deal.

“We're building him up. He's been throwing a lot,” Bochy said. “You look at him, he's in incredible shape. That's who he is. He's one of the better athletes we have. I think his arm and everything, he's really close.”

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB