Nearly two years after suffering one of the scariest injuries in recent baseball history, Tyler Zombro has found a new baseball home.
Zombro agreed to a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers on Saturday, according to multiple reports. Zombro will report to the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Round Rock Express.
The 28-year-old’s baseball career was derailed nearly two years ago until the day he agreed to a deal with the Rangers. It was June 3, 2021, when Zombro, while pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays’ Triple-A affiliate, the Durham Bulls, was struck in the head by a line drive hit by the batter he was facing.
Zombro fell on his face and immediately lost consciousness. The line drive, which traveled at 104 mph, caused Zombro to have a seizure and fracture his skull. When he underwent surgery, Zombro received 16 titanium plates and 36 screws to help repair the bone and reduce bleeding in his brain.
Zombro ended up spending five days in the intensive care unit and two additional days at Duke University Hospital before being discharged on June 9. he fully recovered, allowing him to return to baseball.
After missing the rest of the 2021 season, Zombro returned to the mound in 2022, but it didn’t last long. She made two appearances with Triple-A Durham in April 2022, giving up three earned runs on five hits in two innings pitched before being sidelined for several weeks. He eventually had surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in June 2022, ending his season.
The Rays kept Zombro in their organization during the offseason, but released him at the end of spring training.
Zombro, who began his professional career with the Rays in 2017 as an undrafted free agent, has yet to pitch in the major leagues. He also hasn’t been able to pitch much in recent seasons due to his injuries and the COVID-19 pandemic, which canceled the 2020 minor league season.
But Zombro has pitched well when given the chance for much of his minor league career. The right-handed reliever is 11-4 with a 2.91 ERA, 144 strikeouts and 28 walks in 179 ⅓ innings in 99 appearances over five seasons.
Despite a 27-17 record that keeps them in first place in the AL West entering Saturday, the Rangers have had some struggles in the bullpen this season. They have the seventh-worst bullpen ERA in the majors this season, but have the worst ERA in baseball (6.98 ERA) since April 24.
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