Reaction: Michael Choice off to hot start

March, 1, 2014
Mar 1
5:45
PM CT
PHOENIX -- We haven't even played a week's worth of games this spring, but Michael Choice already is making an impression.

The 24-year-old outfielder continues to hit the ball well and make smart decisions on the bases, looking like a player focused on compelling the Texas Rangers to at least ponder putting him on their big league roster.

The Rangers must decide if it's in their best interest to let Choice play every day in the minors or have his bat off the bench when needed.

That call is still at least a few weeks away.

In the meantime, Choice is going about showing why he has so much promise.

On Saturday, he got to face his old team and didn't waste any time making an impact in a game against the Oakland Athletics that was stopped after nine innings in a 2-2 tie.

Choice smacked the first pitch he saw from right-handed starter Sonny Gray into left-center for a double.

He went from first to third in the fourth on a single by Rougned Odor. Choice said it was a hit-and-run call with two strikes, but with two outs he knew to keep running. His hustle got him to third when Odor's short fly to left dropped in.

"I feel like I'm seeing the ball well," Choice said. "That goes to the work that goes on in the cages, working with all our hitting guys in the morning and focusing on really honing in and getting prepared for the season."

Choice said he's taking what he's doing in those morning sessions, designed to keep his swing short, and apply them to the games.

"I'm letting all the hard work we prepare in the mornings play out instead of trying to do too much," said Choice, who also credits his routine in the cages that has him more comfortable. "I'm getting into the flow of the game.

"Sometimes you get tense and try to do too much. Why prepare a short swing early and then get big in the game? Before I step in the box, I relax everything and focus on the things I've been working on."

Kirkman's Ks: Michael Kirkman pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out two. He struck out Yoenis Cespedes on a nice curve ball and he got Nate Freiman to swing at a change that Kirkman says acts like a splitter.

"He's always had the stuff," Washington said. "It's about consistency. He just has to get the consistency."

Teaching moment: Rangers manager Ron Washington wasn't thrilled that Jose Felix failed to get a bunt down on a suicide squeeze late in the game. Felix got a pitch he could deal with, but missed it and Alex Castellanos, running from third, was tagged out.

"He has to get that bunt down," Washington said. "It's all part of the learning process."

Perez's sinker: If there was one thing that Martin Perez (two innings pitched, one run, one strikeout, one walk) wants to improve upon, it's his sinker. He said the pitch moved too much, allowing hitters to lay off and take it for a ball. It's something he said he'll refine between outings.

Double-play combo: Second baseman Odor and shortstop Luis Sardinas, the double-play combo in Double-A Frisco when the season ended, turned their first double play of the Cactus League. It came off the bat of Michael Taylor and Odor made a quick flip to Sardinas, who converted to Mitch Moreland at first. It's likely both players will be together in Frisco again when the season starts, though that hasn't been decided yet.

Nice at-bat: Jurickson Profar was the leadoff hitter on Saturday and fell behind 0-2. But he fouled off a pitch and then showed some good discipline, taking four balls out of the strike zone to draw a walk. It was a patience at-bat, though Profar ended up stranded at third.

Rios in right: Alex Rios got his first action in right field of the spring, now that his toe is fine. He caught a fly ball and was 0-for-3 at the plate with two strikeouts. He did steal a base in the first moments after his hustle to first eliminated a double play chance.

Too aggressive: Engel Beltre had a rough day on the bases. He was caught stealing in the third after getting a poor jump (perhaps a moist infield played a part in that) and then tried to go from first to third on a Mitch Moreland hit to center and was thrown out easily.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 19 77 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182