Sunday, January 26, 2014
Shin-Soo Choo gets on base any way he can
By Richard Durrett
GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Part of Shin-Soo Choo's impressive ability to get on base is that he isn't afraid to get hit by a pitch.
Choo posted a .423 on-base percentage, the fourth-best in the majors. He also was hit by a pitch 26 times, the most by any big leaguer in 2013.
"Hit by pitch is part of baseball," Choo said Friday night. "I can't do anything. If I get scared about hit by pitch, I might change approach and I can't do anything. Pitchers can throw inside. I can hit it or I get hit."
Of course, the risk of getting hit that many times is falling prey to injury. Choo doesn't spend his time in the batter's box worrying about that. His focus is on the pitcher and doing whatever he can to get on base and help score or drive-in runs.
"That’s life," Choo said about injuries. "You think about injury and you can’t play 100 percent. If you get injured, you get injured. I don’t want to be scared to play. That’s just me."
Getting hit is only part of Choo's on-base formula. Besides getting hits -- he batted .285 -- he draws a lot of walks. Choo walked 112 times in 2013. Only Joey Votto walked more (135).
For Rangers fans, it means being prepared for grinding at-bats and for Choo to get on base so that others, like Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre behind him, get the chance to drive him in.