Rangers Triple A coach struck by liner will be in uniform for season opener

Opening Day for the full-season minor-league teams arrives Thursday, and Howard Johnson will be in uniform and in the home dugout at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.

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He avoided surgery after the March 24 scare but suffered multiple fractures around his cheekbone. Johnson said at the Expresss preseason media that he‘s feeling good despite the scary moment.

“I still have some issues with my eye. Nothing lasting,” said Johnson, a two-time National League All-Star. “It’s basically cosmetic at this point, just some bruising. It could have broken a lot more bones in my face. It could have hit me in a lot worse spot where a lot worse things could have happened. The doctors said that if I wasn’t wearing my Oakleys, my eye would have been in trouble.”

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The only restraints doctors are placing on him is that he can‘t do any work in batting cages for six weeks. That‘s nothing, and Johnson is grateful to be where he is.

“There are a lot of things that I have to be thankful for and a lot of things that I won’t take for granted.,” he said. “I just remember feeling my face and feeling some blood running. I was just so thankful. There were a lot of people praying for me. My wife was there. We were just ecstatic that it wasn’t going to be anything long-term.”

Martinez update

Julio Pablo Martinez was set to undergo a physical this week in the Dominican Republic, and the Rangers are planning for the Cuban outfielder to make his first appearance in the United States in mid-June.

Martinez was granted a single-entry work visa to the United States, so he will go through spring training in the Dominican Republic and likely debut in Dominican Summer League games before joining an affiliate.

. He 21-year-old was considered the top available free agent and was the Rangers‘ Plan B after missing out on Shohei Ohtani.

Players to watch

Most of the Rangers best prospects will be at High A or lower this season, but a handful of players at Round Rock and Double A Frisco could be of service this season to the Rangers.

LF Willie Calhoun: Everyone knows what it will take for Calhoun to take his place in left field for the Rangers — . The bat is always going to be there for Calhoun, but his defense was viewed as too much of a liability for the Rangers to carry to open the season.

C Jose Trevino: The best defensive catcher in the minors was sent back to Frisco for a second straight season to iron out a few things, primarily with his bat, and to get regular playing time as opposed to biding his time in the catching logjam at Round Rock. The addition of Cameron Rupp is an obstacle to Trevino‘s jump to the majors in case of a lengthy injury to Robinson Chirinos, but Trevino‘s glove is elite.

LHP Yohander Mendez: He could be the first line of defense when a Rangers starter is injured. Mendez is the Rangers‘ most advanced pitching prospect and showed well in spring training. He must command his fastball a Triple A to make his plus-changeup more effective.

LHP Brett Martin: Though only in Double A, Martin is on the 40-man roster and might be behind Mendez only the pitching depth chart. The key for Martin is staying healthy, which he has been unable to do the past two seasons. When hearing the term “projectable lefty,” think of Martin.