Shin-Soo Choo’s recovery from a fractured left thumb — and the subsequent surgery to repair that fracture — continues to run smoothly.
The Indians right fielder took between 50 and 60 swings in a cage this afternoon and is scheduled to participate in batting practice with his Tribe teammates Thursday at Boston’s Fenway Park.
And the news gets better.
According to beat writer Nick Camino of WTAM 1100, Indians manager Manny Acta told a radio program this evening that Choo is expected to return to the major league lineup in under 15 days.
The 29-year-old native of South Korea still has to make it through a lengthy minor league rehab assignment without experiencing a setback, but all of the early signs are good. Choo was batting just .244/.333/.353 with five home runs and 11 stolen bases in 306 plate appearances before the injury, but he still has an impressive .853 career OPS and could help the Indians turn it around in the race for the American League Central crown.
It was assumed already, but Mike Scioscia made it official during Monday’s press conference for new general manager Billy Eppler that he will return as Angels manager in 2016.
Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the majors, has been at the helm with the Angels since 2000. There was a clause in his contract which allowed him to opt out after the 2015 season, but he has decided to stay put. He still has three years and $15 million on his contract, which runs through 2018.
Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels general manager in July amid tension with Scioscia, so there were naturally questions today about what to expect with first-time GM Eppler in the fold. According to David Adler of MLB.com, Scioscia isn’t concerned.
“I think we’re going to mesh very well,” Scioscia said. “If we adjust, or maybe he adjusts to some of the things, there’s going to be collaboration that’s going to make us better.”
Eppler is the fourth general manager during Scioscia’s tenure with the team.
After winning the AL West last season, the Angels finished 85-77 this season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez sat out the final series of the regular season in order to rest a strained left intercostal muscle, but there was good news coming out of a workout today in advance of Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Yankees.
This has been a lingering issue for Gomez, who missed 13 straight games with the injury last month. He aggravated the strain on a throw to home plate last Wednesday and was forced to sit while the Astros fought to keep their season alive. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters last week that Gomez’s injury would typically take 45-50 days to recover from, so it’s fair to wonder how productive he can be during the postseason.
Gomez mostly struggled after coming over from the Brewers at the trade deadline, batting .242 with four home runs and a .670 OPS over 41 games.