Posted on September 23, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Following an embarrassing DWI arrest last month and a subsequent stint in a rehabilitation clinic for alcohol abuse, pitcher Jeremy Jeffress appears ready to return to the Texas Rangers. The Rangers have not confirmed, but Ken Rosenthal reported late Thursday that Jeffress is set to return to the team on Friday. Presumably, Jeffress will be activated from the restricted list, where he’s been since his arrest, and return to the Texas bullpen.
Jeffress was arrested less than a month after going to Texas from the Milwaukee Brewers in a trade that also gave the Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. He soon became a solid but unspectacular part of a Texas bullpen that needed all the help it could get. Jeffress had settled into a setup role after closing with the Brewers and figured to be an important part of the team’s run to the postseason. However, after Jeffress was arrested and entered rehab, it was unclear whether or not he would return to the Rangers this season.
“I promise to do everything I can to live my life the right way, as I look to put this incident behind me,” Jeffress said prior to entering rehab. “I promise to do whatever it takes to get back on the field playing the game I love. And I will begin this process by being away from the team while I get the help I need to overcome these difficult personal issues.” Jeffress also pledged to speak out against drunk driving.
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“The Rangers commend Jeremy for seeking treatment and taking responsibility for his actions,” said Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels following Jeffress’ arrest and decision to enter rehab. “Our thoughts are with him as he is dealing with this situation. We ask everyone to respect his privacy as this time.”
It should be noted that most rehab centers dictate that patients stay at least 28 days, and since Jeffress reportedly entered rehab on August 31, he has apparently left the center prior to that 28-day period. The reason for his early exit from rehab is unclear, but it could be a combination of his treatment going well and Jeffress wanting to cement a spot on the Rangers playoff roster over the final week and a half of the regular season.
Jeffress posted modest stats in nine appearances with the Rangers. However, he is an established late-game reliever and could be a useful part of a Texas bullpen that has the worst ERA in the American League. Of course, it’s unknown what kind of shape Jeffress is in and whether he’s continued to throw while in rehab. Either way, the Rangers may need to get him in as much work as possible over the next 10 days to ensure he’s sharp and ready for the postseason.
Jeffress is returning just in time for the Rangers to officially clinch the AL West. A win Friday over the Oakland Athletics, or a loss by both the Astros and Mariners would give Texas the AL West title. Of course, teams usually celebrate a clinching with champagne and other types of adult beverages, so one has to be curious about the timing of Jeffress’ return and whether he’s ready to be around such an occasion so soon after leaving rehab.
Nevertheless, if Rosenthal’s report is true, the Rangers will be excited to have Jeffress back in the bullpen and available for the postseason. Many would consider Texas to be favorites in the American League playoffs, although their bullpen remains a major issue, making the return of Jeffress something that has the potential to make a big impact for the Rangers the rest of the way.