Choo’s milestone hit was nice, but next one was more important
Choo was hit by a pitch on his left wrist in Wednesday’s game against the Orioles. It’s the 57th time Choo has been hit by a pitch with the Rangers, tying Ian Kinsler for the franchise all-time lead.
“Yesterday I could grip the bat OK, but it was hard to swing,” Choo said. “I was hoping something would happen. Today, I feel better. I don’t feel great. It hurts, but it’s OK to swing.”
Woodward wasn’t expecting Choo to be available.
“I didn’t have him in there until I saw him hit this morning.” Manager Chris Woodward said. “He said ‘I think I can hit.’”
“I said, ‘OK, you can hit in the second game,’” Woodward said.
Choo proceeded to show him in the cage that he was ready. It was a nice surprise for Woodward, who will be needing as many healthy bodies available for Saturday’s split doubleheader with the Athletics.
“If you can have your best hitter in the lineup and he wants to play pretty bad,” he said. “I was happy. I didn’t really anticipate him playing in the first game. But he showed me enough. His desire was the overwhelming reason. He desperately wanted to play.”
Choo is tied for 30th all-time with Larry Walker with 138 career HBPs. He walked and struck out in his first two plate appearances on Saturday.
“I don’t think he likes getting hit,” Woodward said. “Chase Utley enjoyed the pain of getting hit right in the knee cap.”
Utley is eighth all-time with 208 HBPs in 16 seasons. Hall of Famer Craig Biggio is the modern day all-time leader with 285 HBPs.
Choo said he wants the franchise record. “I don’t like being tied,” he said.
Chances are, he probably won’t have to wait long.
Woodward said Choo doesn’t stand extremely close to the plate like some other hitters, but pitchers would rather pinch him inside and hit him than give up a double or home run.
“They know they have to get in on you to get you out,” Woodward said. “If you go in on him and you miss over the middle, it’s not coming back.”