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Rangers place Adolis Garcia on injured list, call up top prospect Evan Carter

With their season rapidly slipping away amid a second-half swoon, Texas is hoping its top prospect can give its lineup a boost.

Evan Carter of the Frisco RoughRiders stands on deck during the game against the Midland RockHounds at Riders Field on July 08, 2023 in Frisco, Texas.  Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

After an embarrassing, comprehensive sweep at the hands of the rival Astros put their once-promising season on the brink, the Texas Rangers are hoping that their top prospect can help stop the bleeding amid a second-half swoon. The bad news: Outfielder Adolis Garcia has been put on the injured list with a knee issue. The not-so-bad news: In Garcia’s place is Evan Carter, the team’s top prospect and MLB Pipeline’s No. 8 overall.

Expecting Carter to step in and immediately replace Garcia’s middle-of-the-lineup production (.817 OPS, 34 homers) is silly, but it’s certainly not bad as far as injury replacements go. The 21-year-old wasn’t heavily scouted out of high school, slipping to the second round of the 2020 MLB Draft, where Texas scooped him up at 50th overall. He immediately made that slide look silly, blitzing High-A and Double-A to the tune of a .295/.397/.489 slash line last season while being named the Rangers’ Minor League Player of the Year. He was great again in a repeat performance at Frisco, eventually earning a promotion to Triple-A last month — where he’s hit .353 over his first eight games.

Surely Texas would’ve loved to hold off on throwing him into the middle of a pressure-packed AL West race as a rookie, but it’s hard not to feel like this is a make-or-break point for the team’s season: After losing 11 of their last 15 games, the Rangers have gone from division favorites to a half-game out of the third and final AL Wild Card spot. The pitching has been among the league’s worst, but the lineup has struggled in the second half as well, coming back to Earth hard after a historic start to this season. Carter is the team’s best chance at injecting some life into that group, while adding a left-handed bat to a pretty righty-heavy group overall. He’s a polished hitter who’s run quality averages and OBPs at every stop on his Minor League tour, and he’ll probably be a defensive upgrade over the relatively limited Garcia.

Texas welcomes the Athletics to town for a three-game set beginning tomorrow night, while the Mariners are in Tampa for four games beginning Thursday and the Astros welcome the Padres to Houston this weekend.