Alarm bells have sounded in some circles after just about every tweet or update concerning the hot-hitting Michael Choice, who is making a strong bid to be the Texas Rangers’ fourth outfielder this season.
Some are concerned that the rookie will rot away as a bench player, and that he needs at-bats every day in the minors to stay sharp. Others don’t want him to accrue any major-league service time as a bench player to keep him from reach free agency sooner.
Choice, though, has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues, and he is showing that this spring. He added two more doubles to his stats sheet Friday night, driving in the Rangers’ only run in a 2-1 loss to Cincinnati.
He’s the front-runner to be the extra outfielder on Opening Day, and he’s not the least bit concerned about being a bench player.
“I’m a big boy,” the 24-year-old said. “I’ve played at literally every single level you can possibly play at. What I do every day is I come to the field and work on my craft. I don’t think how many ABs I get will affect performance by any means because when you prepare properly, you know you’ve done everything you can to be successful.”
Choice stayed hot Saturday against Oakland, collecting a two-out RBI single in the first inning and starting the third with a solo homer against the team that traded him away in December.
Choice, who has played in all 17 of the Rangers’ Cactus League games, went 2-for-3 to push his average to .389 (14 for 36). After batting .302 in 510 at-bats last year at Triple A Sacramento, Choice isn’t surprised by his spring so far and isn’t convinced that repeating Triple A would serve him much good.
“It’s not a shocker or a surprise to me because I’ve put in the work,” he said. “It’s one thing if you’re not doing everything you can. I feel like I’ve put in the work. At the end of the day the deciding factor is not really up to you. All you can do is just go play hard and that’s been my main goal.”