Shin-Soo Choo returned to the outfield Monday for the Texas Rangers, though in the less-taxing right field at Yankee Stadium than in his usual spot in left field.
The change was to help him take it easy on his left ankle, which was sprained in April. Choo continued to play without going on the disabled list, but he wishes he could have a do-over.
Choo said that not going on the DL was a mistake, one he regrets as he goes through the worst stretch of his career. The All-Star break helped, but more time was needed three months ago.
The Rangers have had 21 players visit the DL this season.
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“I made a bad decision,” Choo said. “I should have had more rest instead of trying to come back as soon as possible.”
Choo entered Monday in an 0-for-21 skid, the longest hitless stretch of his career that had dropped his batting average to .236. He hopes to give the ankle more of a test to see how he and it responds.
“I want to push it in the second half and find out,” Choo said. “I don’t want to play the second half like I played the first half.”
Wednesday for Rios?
Right fielder Alex Rios said that his sprained right ankle had improved and he was confident that he could play Tuesday.
That will likely mean Wednesday to manager Ron Washington, whose past policy has been to give a player who says he’s ready one additional day.
The ankle was good enough for Rios to run on a treadmill and attempt to take swings for the first time since he was injured Saturday during his first at-bat.
“I don’t think this is going to keep me out long,” Rios said.
Washington said that Rios isn’t a candidate to go on the DL, a move that could free a roster spot as right-hander Nick Martinez comes off the DL to start Tuesday. Outfielder Jake Smolinski and catcher Chris Gimenez are candidates to be moved out, but Gimenez doesn’t have any options remaining.
Jim Adduci, who was activated Monday with righty Matt West going back to Triple A, can play both outfield and first base. Gimenez is now the Rangers’ third-string first baseman and third-string catcher, so his playing time continues to diminish.
Adduci could fall into a platoon at first base with J.P. Arencibia, or, as was the case Monday, he could be in the outfield with Arencibia at first.
“I have a chance to play and show what I can do,” said Adduci, who has never played first base in the majors but played there on his rehab assignment. “I’m getting more and more comfortable. I have to keep getting work.”
Martinez is making a homecoming of sorts this week, just “a couple subway stops” away from where he went to college at Fordham.
His family, girlfriend’s family, friends and former coaches will be on hand for his Yankee Stadium debut, his first start since he was slowed by discomfort in his left side after a start earlier this month at Baltimore.
“It’s going to be special,” Martinez said. “I saw a lot of games out there in the left-field bleachers, so it’s going to be nice to be on the mound.”
The Rangers plan to honor Derek Jeter on July 30 before the final game of the Yankees’ only trip this season to Globe Life Park.
The Rangers are keeping quiet on the details of how they will honor the retiring shortstop.
Closer Mariano Rivera received a pair of personalized cowboy boots, a cowboys hat and a donation to his charity when he retired last year.