If ever there was a day for Michael Choice to be grateful for the advent of unlimited calling and text-messaging plans, Tuesday was it.
The newest member of the Texas Rangers was bombarded by a steady stream of calls and texts from family, friends and former coaches and teammates after the Rangers brought him home from Oakland.
Choice, a Fort Worth native who lives in south Arlington after attending Mansfield Timberview High School and UT Arlington, was still hearing from well-wishers a day after he was swapped for Craig Gentry and Josh Lindblom.
“From noon to 7 p.m., it was pretty much nonstop,” Choice said Wednesday as he was reacquainted with the local media. “I’ve had a lot of things going through my mind, just thinking about being home and playing in the same stadium that I grew up coming to and watching so many games in.”
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Just as exciting as his personal gain was the fact that Tuesday was his father’s birthday.
“I couldn’t calm my dad down,” the outfielder said.
Choice used his drive up Texas 360 to time how long it will take him to get to his new office. Exactly 16 minutes, he said.
With family and friends so close, it would seem that a chance to feel extra pressure would exist. Choice, though, sees it differently.
“If anything, I think it’ll be less nerve-racking, because it will be familiar,” he said.
No on Cano
The off-season hot stove heated up quickly and reached a boiling point Tuesday with a bevy of trades and free-agent signings only days ahead of the frenetic annual winter meetings.
The Rangers have been among the busier teams, striking the biggest trade so far in the Ian Kinsler-for-Prince Fielder swap last month and the four-player Choice deal Tuesday.
There’s more work to be done for general manager Jon Daniels and more players, even difference-makers, to be had. But Daniels put an apparent kibosh Wednesday on All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano.
The top free agent on the market, despite the rumors, isn’t in the Rangers’ plans.
“We’ve talked to agents for most of the guys out there,” Daniels said. “I’m not going to comment on specific guys, but that being said, upgrading our infield is pretty low on our priority list.”
Cano, a free agent for the first time, is seeking a deal that would make him baseball’s highest-paid player. The Seattle Mariners are considered the front-runner to sign Cano after his former team, the New York Yankees, added catcher Brian McCann and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
The Rangers have Jurickson Profar in line to start at second base after Kinsler was dealt to Detroit. They need a designated hitter, but they aren’t interested in putting Profar back in the utility infielder/DH role he had last season.