The Rangers had high hopes when they signed outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to a seven-year, $130 million contract over the winter, but a lingering injury to his left ankle is a major reason why his first season with Texas has been a bust.
Choo sprained his ankle on April 21 when he landed on first base awkwardly while trying to beat out an infield hit. While the 32-year-old ended up missing a week of action, he didn’t go on the disabled list. Choo told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram this afternoon that if he could do it all over again, he wishes that he had taken some extra time to heal.
“I made a bad decision,” Choo said. “I should have had more rest instead of trying to come back as soon as possible.”
The injury has continued to be a factor, even forcing Choo to serve as the DH while the Rangers were in Toronto over the weekend. He returned to the outfield tonight, but he did so in right field in order to take some stress off the ankle. Choo’s production on offense has undoubtedly suffered, as he’s batting just .239/.355/.370 with nine home runs and 34 RBI over 94 games. He only has three stolen bases for the year and hasn’t attempted one since May 24.
On the bright side, Choo snapped out of a career-worst 0-for-22 hitless streak tonight against the Yankees. But he still has a long way to go in order to redeem his season.
There’s no doubt that the last three years have put David Wright through the ringer. The Mets third baseman missed the bulk of his 2015 season with spinal stenosis and made it through a month of games in 2016 before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck. In 2017, a bout of shoulder impingement, rotator cuff surgery and a laminotomy procedure on his lower back kept him off the field for all 162 games.
Despite the continual setbacks, Wright told MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, he doesn’t believe retirement is in the cards for him this year. “When the end comes, the end comes,” he said Friday. “Hopefully, I’ve got a little more left. But I guess that’s to be determined.”
The 35-year-old last appeared for High-A St. Lucie in 2017, powering through three games with one hit and five strikeouts in 10 plate appearances. His career has advanced in fits and starts since 2015, but you don’t have to do too much digging to find his last great performance with the Mets. Wright earned his seventh career All-Star berth in 2013, slashing .307/.390/.514 with 18 home runs and a terrific 6.0 fWAR in 492 PA. While he isn’t expected to mash at those levels in the near future, if ever again, the Mets believe the veteran third baseman might still have something left in the tank as he tries to extend a 13-year run in the majors.
Per DiComo, the only thing standing in his way is a clean bill of health — not just for the upcoming season, but for the years to come. Wright said he wouldn’t risk returning to the field if it came with long-term implications for his quality of life.
The surgeries are obviously serious stuff, but it just kind of plays with your mind mentally, where you don’t know how your body’s going to hold up,” Wright said. “You don’t know how you’re going to feel a month from now. You don’t know how you’re going to feel a couple weeks from now. You’re hoping that it continues to get better, but you just don’t know.
Given the uncertainty that surrounds his return to the game, it’s a prudent outlook to have.