Texas Rangers

Even Rangers' hottest hitter has to obey his body

Shin-Soo Choo extended his on-base streak to 46 games Saturday, tying Julio Franco's 1993 Rangers' record. It's the longest on-base streak in the majors since 2016.
Shin-Soo Choo extended his on-base streak to 46 games Saturday, tying Julio Franco's 1993 Rangers' record. It's the longest on-base streak in the majors since 2016. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

The hottest hitter in the Texas Rangers' lineup was not in the lineup Saturday night against the Chicago White Sox.

Shin-Soo Choo has soreness in his right quadriceps muscle, and underwent an MRI exam even though he doesn't think he is injured too badly.

The Rangers' top run producer was back in the lineup, though only after getting the final three innings off Friday. Nomar Mazara's left hamstring didn't need any more abuse with his team up 10 runs.

The same treatment was given to the Rangers' best hitter, so that his old legs didn't get any undo strain in a lopsided game. Adrian Beltre also returned to the lineup 24 hours later.

The fact is that this is the time of the season when all players, not just the position players, are dealing with some form of discomfort. Most of them have been for some time.

Eventually, the day arrives when a player needs time off, or as much as the manager can give him. And even the player with the longest on-base streak in the majors this season yields to his body.

"It started bothering me 10 days ago, but the last couple days it's been hurting me running," said Choo, who extended his on-base streak to 41 games Friday. "I don't want to make it worse. I'll take a day today."

The Rangers and White Sox played a late game Saturday that hadn't ended at press time. The finale Sunday starts at 2:05 p.m., and don't think that the lingering soreness from a quick turnaround won't impact both lineups.

Mazara pulled up in the eighth inning Monday legging out an infield hit, was removed, and spent Tuesday as the designated hitter. He got the rest of Friday off after jogging around the bases in the sixth to score the Rangers' final run in an 11-3 win.

"I took him out last night just based on the score," manager Jeff Banister said. "He'll continue to manage how his legs feel. One of the things I told him is he needs to run at the pace he needs to run at on it."

Joey Gallo left a win June 23 at Minnesota after only three innings because of soreness in his left hammy.

He spent the next game at DH to continue to help nurse an injury he said started bothering him in spring training. Gallo received a cortisone injection in April, but the effects of it started to wear off in early June.

No one needs to be reminded of the caution being shown with Beltre, who was the DH against the White Sox.

It might be worth a reminder that Banister has stayed away from some relievers as they deal with nagging soreness in various areas and to limit workloads. Right-hander Chris Martin, for instance, is still feeling the strain in his right calf that put him on the DL on June 15.

The legs are the primary area of concern.

"This is part of the time of year where these need to be able to manage their lower half," Banister said. "It gets a little banged up."

Ice packs and electric muscle stimulation devices are more visible these days in the clubhouse. More players seem to be walking around soaked from time in a hot or cold tub.

They want to play and they don't want to let their teammates down.

The 162-game schedule is a grind, but players usually find a way to put aside their aches and pains to be available each night. Choo thought he'd be ready to pinch-hit if needed, and Banister was willing to use him if needed.

"Choo's been one of those guys as long as I've been here," Banister said. "He's wants to be in every game. He doesn't want to come out of any game. He's a tough guy."

But Choo's right quad finally told him it was time to sit down for a game or two. That has yet to be determined, but he's doing to do everything to make sure he can go again quickly on a leg that just needed some rest.

"I don't think it'll be serious," Choo said. "We still have a lot of games left. On-base streak or not, my body is more important."

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