Think of Shin-Soo Choo’s left ankle in the same vein as Adrian Beltre’s quadriceps issue.
Both are going to be around all season.
Choo returned to the Texas Rangers’ lineup Sunday after leaving Saturday’s 12-2 victory in the sixth inning because of soreness. Choo initially injured the ankle April 21 at Oakland when he landed awkwardly on first base.
But he reported to Comerica Park good enough to serve as the Rangers’ designated hitter in the finale of the four-game series against Detroit.
“In the lineup, that means good,” Choo said.
Manager Ron Washington said that the decision to remove Choo from the Saturday rout was a no-brainer, and similar precautions, likely giving Choo games at DH, will be taken the rest of the season.
Michael Choice started in left field.
“We had a big lead. He said his ankle was sore. We took him out,” Washington said. “He’s going to manage it all year. There are going to be some days it bothers him more than others.”
Nick Tepesch never had a lost feeling last year during his rookie season, in which he skipped Triple A on his way to the Rangers’ rotation, but the right-hander said that he has felt more comfortable in his first two starts of 2014.
His third arrives Monday as the Rangers open a four-game series at Minnesota.
“I do feel a little more comfortable,” Tepesch said. “But at the same time, last year the guys on the pitching staff helped me adjust to it very easily. I wouldn’t say it’s a huge difference, but I do know what to expect a little more having experienced it on my own.”
Tepesch (1-0, 3.09 ERA) said that he has few complaints after his last start, a win and a quality start Wednesday against Seattle. He hopes to build on it against the Twins, who have won the season series against the Rangers in four of the past five years.
“It’s going to be a tough four days, no doubt about it,” Washington said. “They’re playing some good baseball, but that’s expected in Minnesota. Hopefully we can go up there, play some good baseball and break the spell.”
Masking the pain
Outfielder Daniel Robertson said that he should be available again Wednesday after he gets fitted Tuesday for a protective mask to wear over three small fractures on the left side of his face.
He will also receive a new, protective helmet to wear during at-bats. He plans to wear the mask when he runs the bases and is in the outfield.
“I don’t care how it looks as long as I’m on the field,” said Robertson, who was injured Thursday as his face smacked Alex Rios’ knee as they converged for an Ian Kinsler popup.
Robertson said that he will have to wear the mask four to six weeks, or until the fractures are deemed to be 75 percent. He has worked out and run since the collision, but playing without a mask would risk making the fractures worse.