Getting on base can be painful process for Choo
CINCINNATI -- Through one week of the regular season, center fielder Shin-Soo Choo has given the Reds something they hoped he would bring -- someone who gets on base, a lot.
Considering Choo had reached base in more than half of his plate appearances over his first six games, and at least once in every game, he has been more than just successful. Besides having an on-base percentage of .516, he is batting .375 (9-for-24) with three home runs and three walks.
"If I get on base, I have a lot of confidence I'm going to score. That's my job," said Choo, who had scored a team-high seven runs.
Last season, the Reds had a .208 average and .254 on-base percentage from their collection of leadoff hitters. That was the catalyst for acquiring Choo in a December trade with the Indians.
"If I walk, get a hit-by-pitch ... there are a lot of options to get on base," Choo said.
Choo has been hit by pitches already a Major League-leading four times, including once vs. the Nationals on Saturday. Only one other player in baseball -- Minnesota's Trevor Plouffe -- had been hit twice in the young season.
Being hit by pitches is nothing new to Choo, who was struck 14 times in 155 games last season for the Indians. His career high is 17 in 2009 for Cleveland.
"I don't think they're trying to hit me," Choo said Sunday. "I don't mind getting by hit by a pitch. The second game [vs. the Angels in the ninth inning], I scored after getting hit by a pitch.
"I used to worry about it, but now I've changed my mind. Before I was a little defensive, now I'm not scared anymore. ... I know a lot of pitchers keep throwing the inside pitch, but I'm not changing anything. I just keep my approach."
Reds manager Dusty Baker is not entirely thrilled about seeing Choo staying in the box and getting plunked.
"The amateurs holler 'take one for the team' -- that ain't the way to get on," Baker said. "When you've been hit, that means they're pitching you inside. There's a very small margin between -- it's only two or three inches between an inside strike and hitting you. He's going to get hit because they're going to pitch him inside until he proves they can't come in there.
"As long as they hit him in the legs -- those big tree trunks he has. You just don't want him to get hit in the hand or the elbow or anything. You shouldn't get hit there if you're moving out of the way properly, unless one gets away from you and you don't see it."