Extra Bases: Choo deals with tough season

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
9:00
AM CT
NEW YORK -- At the start of Monday's game, Shin-Soo Choo was dealing with a 0-for-21 slump, a position move to right field for the first time since 2012 and his own regret.

Choo said he should have rested a sore left ankle, nicked back in April. It's clear that Choo is not himself at the plate, but Monday night against the New York Yankees, he had two hits, including a RBI single in a three-run sixth inning that pushed the Texas Rangers to a 4-2 victory.

For the record, Choo's slump saw his slump extend to 22 at-bats when he flew out in the first inning. But he blooped a double to center in the third, then lined a single to center to plate a big run.

Yet Choo's season has just been terrible.

It all started with that ankle injury.

"I made a bad decision [by playing],” Choo said before Monday's game. "I should have had more rest instead of trying to come back as soon as possible.”

Manager Ron Washington commended Choo for playing through his health issues and said the outfielder isn't using the injury as an excuse for his slash line: .239/.355/.370.

This latest slump for Choo was just the latest example of how bad things have been. During the 0-fer spell, Choo struck out 11 times and, over a 16-game stretch, hit just .116 with 16 strikeouts.

Over the long haul of a baseball season, however, professional hitters are asked to forget about certain things.

"It's easy to say that," Choo said. "But I just tell myself every day is a new game and every pitch is new pitches and every at-bat is new at-bats, that’s what I tried to do. Then I just did it between pitches and I just stepped up in the batter's box and say the next pitch is new."

Rios getting close: Rangers right fielder Alex Rios (sprained right ankle) said he took some swings prior to Monday's game and felt good. It appears he'll return to the lineup Wednesday if there are no complications. Rios sprained the ankle swinging the bat in Toronto on Saturday. Rios is hitting .302/.330/.435 and has been the subject of trade talk. The Rangers have a 2015 club option for Rios with a $1 million buyout.

Smolinski, Soto hurt: Designated hitter Jake Smolinski fouled a pitch off the inside of his left foot in Monday's sixth inning. He continued the at-bat but was lifted for a pinch hitter in the ninth inning. Smolinski said X-rays of the foot were negative and he's day-to-day. Catcher Geovany Soto, who just returned to the team last weekend in Toronto following right-knee surgery, strained his right groin running the bases in the sixth. Soto said he feels fine but his status for the rest of the Yankees series, which continues through Thursday, is uncertain.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182