Shin-Soo Choo to begin minor league rehab assignment today

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According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Shin-Soo Choo is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment today with Class A Lake County.

Choo required surgery after being hit in the left thumb by a pitch on June 24. He began taking batting practice last week and was cleared to return after having his surgically-repaired thumb examined by Dr. Thomas Graham on Saturday and making it through BP with Lake County yesterday with no issues.

This has been a disappointing season for Choo in many respects. In addition to his DUI in the spring and recent thumb injury, the 29-year-old outfielder is batting just .244/.333/.353 with five homers, 28 RBI and a .687 OPS over 306 plate appearances.

It’s not known how many at-bats Choo will need in the minor leagues, but he has previously said that he would like to return during a series against the White Sox from August 16-18. While he should be back sometime within the next two weeks, that might not be quick enough to help the reeling Indians. After losing eight of their last 12, the Indians currently sit at 56-56, four games behind the first-place Tigers in the American League Central.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.