Choo's play hard to sit: 'He is earning it'

September 6th, 2020

Production still matters to Rangers manager Chris Woodward when making out a starting lineup.

That’s why was in the lineup on Sunday afternoon against the Mariners while shortstop was on the bench. The Rangers want to look at young players in the final month of the season, including outfielder and infielder .

But Woodward said he still wants Choo, 38, in his lineup as much as possible, even though he is going to be a free agent after the season. Choo was 4-for-4 with a home run on Saturday, while White is still looking for his first Major League hit.

“I love what Choo is doing,” Woodward said. “He is earning it. The one thing I want to make clear to these guys is, 'You are going to earn your playing time if you are playing well and performing well.' I love Choo’s at-bats right now. I want that to be clear to a lot of guys: 'If you give me consistency, you might be in there every day.'”

Woodward said the Rangers still want to play White. They are also expecting to get back once he recovers from a strained left hamstring. He is getting at-bats at the alternate training site via simulated games, and he could take time back from Choo when he returns.

“I am not going to promise Choo is going to be in there the rest of the year,” Woodward said. “As of right now, he is going to be in there quite a bit.”

Andrus is 2-for-13 in six games since returning from the injured list with a lower back strain and is not yet 100 percent. For the season, he's hitting .180/.240/.270, and that continues to be a source of frustration for the Rangers.

The shortstop’s best offensive year was in 2017, when he hit .297 and set career highs with 100 runs scored, 20 home runs, 88 RBIs and a .471 slugging percentage. He suffered a fractured right elbow in '18 and hasn’t produced offensively to the Rangers' satisfaction since then.

Texas has been trying to get Andrus to make adjustments in his approach at the plate, but it remains a work in progress.

“I think there's a lot more in there, and I've tried to push it out of him,” Woodward said. “He's been open to a lot of offensive stuff. He's kind of in the midst of making some significant changes. He wants to play. He wants to play a long time. And he wants to be good.

“Opening his mind up saying, ‘OK, what things do I need to do to be a better offensive player?’ He's been open to that. And I think that this is a big time for him to kind of figure some things out and maybe become the player that we all think he believes he can be. It's just going to take some work and some commitment on his part.”

Chavez activated for Rodriguez
Right-handed reliever was activated off the injured list on Sunday to replace , who could miss the rest of the season with a strained left hamstring. Rodríguez is still being evaluated after leaving Saturday’s game in the seventh inning.

“I don’t know the exact results yet. We are still waiting to find out,” Woodward said. “I’m not real confident based on what it looked like and sounded like from him last night. I am not confident he’ll be back before the end of the season.”

Chavez has been sidelined for two weeks with a sprained left big toe. He has pitched in 12 games with an 8.74 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP and will be a free agent after the season.

Rangers beat
• Choo, who is 38 years old, stole his sixth base on Saturday night. In Senators/Rangers history, only three players have stolen at least six bases in a season at 37 years or older: Minnie Minoso in 1963, Eric Young Sr. in 2004 and Kenny Lofton in 2007.

• The Rangers will need an extra starting pitcher for Saturday’s doubleheader against the Athletics. Minor League pitching coordinator Jono Arnold is at the alternate training site and said right-handers , , and are all built up to five innings and 80 pitches.

had two hits on Saturday, giving him 72 in his first 70 games. That’s tied for the fifth-most hits through a player’s first 70 games in Senators/Rangers history.