Texas Rangers reliever Jeremy Jeffress will remain on the Major League Baseball restricted list while MLB continues to investigate his arrest early Friday morning in Dallas for suspicion of drunken driving.
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The Rangers placed the right-hander on the restricted list, which is often used when a player is unavailable to play for non-baseball reasons, such as personal issues or legal trouble.
The commissioner’s office is working in concert with the players’ union, along with Jeffress and his agent “to determine the best course of action moving forward,” Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said.
“We’re waiting to hear what that resolution is,” Levine said. “The expectation from us is that it will be done in a timely fashion. Whether it will be a day or days we don’t really know.”
Jeffress has tested positive for marijuana use three times while in the minors, including serving a 100-game suspension for the last incident in 2009.
MLB’s investigation won’t necessarily conclude with another suspension. Major league players have a different set of standards than minor leaguers. The MLB could also conclude that Jeffress, who has has been diagnosed with juvenile epilepsy needs help, not punishment. He has often experienced seizures.
The MLB and union are also investigating whether Jeffress violated the league’s joint drug agreement or the player’s collective bargaining agreement.
“We do not have much say or jurisdiction over this matter,” Levine said. “We’re really waiting to hear what Major League Baseball and the union ultimately determine.”
While he’s on the restricted list Jeffress can’t work out with the team.
“At this point they’re still fact-finding,” Levine said. “So there hasn’t been a conclusion from his incident the other night that MLB has come to the ultimate resolution whether or not it’s a punitive matter or if it’s all hands on deck to try to help the person.”
The Rangers called up left-hander Dario Alvarez to fill Jeffress’ spot in the bullpen. He allowed three runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings Friday. Jeffress came to the Rangers with catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Milwaukee Brewers in a trade on Aug. 1.
Manager Jeff Banister said not having Jeffress available is a challenge.
“Just add it to the number challenges we’ve had before,” he said.
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is looking at a return for the postseason. Choo had surgery Aug. 17 to repair a fracture in his left forearm. The earliest Choo could return would be Oct. 12, eight weeks from surgery.
Choo is holding out some hope that he’s available for the division series, which begins Oct. 6. The AL Championship Series begins Oct. 14 and the World Series on Oct. 25.
“I have a plan, I have a goal, I have the confidence,” Choo said. “I still have a chance. I know the [regular] season is over but it’s still not over for 2016. If I hit in seven [weeks], maybe [earlier].”
Teams must set playoff rosters before each postseason series. The only way Choo could be placed on the roster in the middle of a postseason series is if a player had to be replaced because of injury.
Choo said he’s feeling better, specifically his frame of mind, after a frustrating season filled with injuries that limited him to 45 games.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” he said. “I try to understand the situation but it’s hard.”