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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Josh Jung Homers in First MLB At-Bat

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Texas Rangers third baseman Josh Jung (6) hits a home run in his first major-league at-bat. | Image by Jerome Miron, USA TODAY Sports

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Rookie Josh Jung did not disappoint in his Texas Rangers and MLB debut. The 22-year-old third baseman rookie debuted his first at-bat in the MLB with a home run with his family among the nearly 20,000 fans inside Globe Life Field.

“I don’t even think I was conscious running around the bases,” Jung said of his first round-trip around the sacks. “I just put a good swing on it. I think he threw me a change-up right there. Just crazy.”

“Since he was just a little kid, it was ‘when I got my first Major League at-bat, I want to hit a home run,'” said Jeff Jung, Josh Jung’s father, to Bally Sports. “So, for him to actually, you know, do that is crazy.”

Of the estimated nearly 16 million MLB first-at-bats in history, Jung joins a list chronologically at No. 133 of those to ever hit a home run during their MLB debut at-bat.

“Just a dream come true,” Jung’s mother, Mary, said. 

The home run came on a third-inning change-up, just as Josh Jung had reckoned after the game. The 83.7 MPH pitch from Blue Jay starter Ross Stripling hung in the strike zone and was bashed by Jung into left-center, clearing the outfield’s defender and wall by a close margin. The homer cut the Ranger’s deficit to 3-1 on a night where a competitive contest ended with a Texas loss, 4-3 on Friday night in Arlington. 

Dane Dunning got the starting nod for the Rangers, and limited one of the better hitting teams in the American League to three earned runs over 5.2 innings, allowing just two free passes and punching out five.

Texas would not earn their way back onto the scoreboard after Jung’s homer until the bottom of the sixth when Marcus Semien pushed a two-out, line-drive double right before being knocked home by a single from Corey Seager in the next at-bat for Texas.

The Rangers looked to have the wheels rolling in the bottom of the next frame after Leody Taveras got hit by a pitch while taking a free base and a single by Jung, putting Texas runners at first and third with two down. 

Adam Cimber relieved pen-mate Yimi Garcia for Toronto, and Jung (who would go 2-for-4 in the loss) would steal second for his first big league swipe. Four pitches later, Josh H. Smith would go down swinging on a 95.9 MPH four-seam heater to end the scoring threat.

Texas Rangers tied the game 3-3 on a double from Seager scored by Bubba Thompson after Thompson had doubled in the eighth.

José Leclerc entered the contest for Texas in the ninth and walked the first batter he faced, Raimel Tapia. Tapia stole second before Danny Jansen batted him, Toronto regaining the lead 4-3, where the contest would finish.

Leclerc dropped to 0-2 on the season, and Texas slipped to 59-78.

Jung is the second Rangers player to homer in his first MLB at-bat. The first was Jurickson Profar on September 2, 2012, in Cleveland. Josh Jung was the first to do it at home.

Before the game, penciled in as a starter for the first time in his major league career, the 22-year-old San Antonio Native and former Texas Tech Red Raider said he had been met with excitement all afternoon.

“Goosebumps, honestly,” Josh Jung said. “That first at-bat or even when my name got announced, before the game doing the lineup, was just goosebumps. I was just kind of reminded like this is the start of the journey that I want to be on. The track that I want to go. So it was pretty cool. Pretty special.”

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