OAKLAND, Calif. — Shin-Soo Choo is not expected to go on the disabled list after an MRI exam showed that the Texas Rangers’ left fielder and leadoff man did not have a high sprain of his left ankle.
The Rangers said that Choo is day-to-day, though the earliest he would play again is Friday at Seattle. Choo was injured in the seventh inning Monday as he tried to beat out an infield hit by lunging at the bag.
He told manager Ron Washington that he felt discomfort and was removed from the game in favor of Michael Choice, who started in left field and batted leadoff Tuesday against Oakland.
Considering the Rangers have 11 players on the disabled list, they were elated with the initial diagnosis on Choo from Dr. Keith Meister.
“We’re hoping this is an indication that we’ve bottomed out and we’re heading in the right direction from an injury standpoint,” assistant general manager Thad Levine said. “We’ve been overdue on some positive news from the training staff. This certainly is a silver lining to what was a concerning injury that we thought we had last night.”
Choo won’t play Wednesday in the finale of a three-game series at O.co Coliseum, and he will be evaluated in Seattle on Friday after an off day Thursday. The DL will become an option if the injury doesn’t improve quickly enough for him to return to the lineup.
But the Rangers, as they did with Adrian Beltre, are willing to give Choo time to mend and attempt to stay off the DL. They created an opening on the 40-man roster by designating right-hander Hector Noesi for assignment and now have flexibility to add Triple A outfielder Brad Snyder or Bryan Petersen if needed.
“We feel very optimistic that Choo, who is a vital part of this team, will be back on the field and will be back on the field soon,” Levine said. “These types of players, you give them every opportunity to play if the medical staff feels as if it’s going to be inside a reasonable time frame. We’re willing to be patient and wait, provided Wash doesn’t feel it leaves him too limited.”
Robinson Chirinos was back at catcher for a second consecutive game, and Washington said that Chirinos will likely start Wednesday’s finale even though it’s a day game after a night game.
Washington said that Chirinos and left-hander Martin Perez have too good of a chemistry going, and Washington doesn’t want to break that up. J.P. Arencibia will likely start Friday, said Washington.
But the manager would not say that Chirinos has emerged as the Rangers’ everyday catcher despite the evidence. Chirinos has started seven of the past 10 games, and pitchers were 8-2 with a 2.39 ERA in the 10 games he had caught entering Tuesday.
Arencibia, meanwhile, is 4-6 with a 5.86 catcher’s ERA, and his batting average has dipped to .045 during an 0-for-19 slide.
“I haven’t made up my mind,” Washington said. “I don’t have a No. 1 and a No. 2. I have two catchers.”
Chirinos isn’t making too much of his increased playing time, either.
“I prepare myself every day like I’m playing every day,” Chirinos said. “If I’m not I have my mind ready to come into the game. I just want to every advantage of the situation I’m in.”
Matt Harrison said that he threw free and easy during a Tuesday bullpen session, and the Rangers are leaning toward bringing him off the disabled list for a start Friday at Seattle.
The left-hander has been out since last April after having two back operations for a herniated disk. He was delayed early in spring camp with another back scare, and on Saturday allowed three hits in eight scoreless innings in his fifth rehab start with Double A Frisco.
If Harrison starts Friday, Colby Lewis would work Saturday, Robbie Ross would go Sunday and Yu Darvish would start Monday in the opener of a three-game series against Oakland at Globe Life Park.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST
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