Shin-Soo Choo was back in the starting lineup Wednesday against a left-handed starter about 15 hours after he became only the eighth Texas Rangers player to hit for the cycle.
The final two hits — the single and the triple — were against lefties, who have put the screws to the lefty-hitting Choo this season and have put him on the bench at times when a lefty starts.
But manager Jeff Banister liked Choo against Colorado lefty Jorge De La Rosa in the finale of the three-game series. Foremost in Banister’s decision-making was that Choo is confident, and De La Rosa’s reverse splits were a favorable matchup.
“It’s all about confidence with Choo,” Banister said. “I really believe that guy feeds off his own confidence and what he can do.”
Choo said that he is definitely in a good place mentally after four days without baseball during the All-Star break. He said that he feels it’s Opening Day again and has a fresh outlook for the second half.
He also knows that his numbers this season against lefties — including a .167 average and a .508 on-base-plus-slugging percentage — look like he’s clueless. But he opened Wednesday with an RBI single off De La Rosa in the Rangers’ four-run first inning.
“I have an approach against left-handed pitchers and maybe I haven’t been really good at following that approach,” said Choo, a .235 career hitter vs. lefties. “That’s going to happen. Last night I was swinging at strikes.”
He also believes that he’s an everyday player, but said that he’s OK sitting against some lefties if it will give the team a better chance to win a game.
“I’m ready to play every day, and I believe I’m an everyday player,” Choo said. “Winning games is the most important thing. That’s why I’m here.”
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760