At this point, you have to feel for Shin-Soo Choo.
The Texas Rangers outfielder has spent a majority of the season on the disabled list, three different times in fact. He’ll now be making a fourth trip.
Choo suffered a fractured forearm after getting hit by a pitch by former Ranger and current Oakland A’s left-hander Ross Detwiler during the fifth inning in the Rangers’ 5-2 win over the A’s Monday night. It looked like Detwiler was trying to go up and in with a fastball that ended up getting away. Unfortunately, it ended up costing the Rangers their lead-off man.
Choo could never really get on track this season, hitting .247 with seven home runs and 17 RBI in 45 games. He has dealt with calf and hamstring strains, along with lower back inflammation, the entire time. The Rangers just could never really get a completely healthy version of Choo this year. That trade for outfielder Carlos Beltran is looking pretty good right now, isn’t it?
So with Choo likely out for the rest of the season, how does this affect the Rangers outfield situation? The Rangers were already playing “mix and match” with the lineup, with Choo in the DH role Monday. That probably won’t change. The Beltran trade was already big and just got bigger. With the outfield of Beltran, Ian Desmond and Nomar Mazara, there’s not too much to worry about. Plus, you still have Delino DeShields and Drew Stubbs on the roster. Both can play all three outfield positions if needed.
There’s also help in the minors, especially with September call-ups a couple of weeks away. Ryan Rua was lifted during Triple-A Round Rock’s game Monday night so you could possibly see him back in Arlington. He was optioned down to the minors last week and typically can’t be recalled for ten days. But with Choo heading to the DL, it sounds like the Rangers have the green light to bring him back.
Plus, you also still have Joey Gallo in Round Rock. Granted, Gallo’s first couple of trips to Arlington this season were less than spectacular, including a 1-for-14 stretch that included nine strikeouts last month. But he does give you options at the DH position. He’s been solid at the plate for the Express over the past week, hitting .316 with a home run and six RBIs.
There may be more worries with who takes over the lead-off spot in the lineup. Jurickson Profar and Desmond have each seen time there during the season, and DeShields was the lead-off hitter for a majority of last season. Tuesday’s lineup card just got a little more interesting.
While it is unfortunate to be without Choo’s bat during the stretch run of the season and possibly even the postseason, it is fortunate for the Rangers to have options concerning the outfield and lead-off spot. There are plenty of teams out there that don’t when something like this happens.
Written by C. James