WASHINGTON -- The reintroduction of Shin-Soo Choo to the outfield continued this weekend with the designated hitter not being used in the National League park.
Choo played right field in all three games, and hit his ninth home run Sunday in the Rangers' 5-1 victory over the Nationals at Nationals Park. It was his second homer in the three-game sweep. Choo's ninth-inning blast Saturday was the first big blow in a comeback victory.
"My numbers still aren't what I'm looking for yet, but I just want to be healthy," Choo said. "If I stay healthy and play a whole year, I'll be good. I don't have to worry about numbers, they will be there at the end of the year."
Choo is healthy and the absence of the DH is not the only reason he is now playing in the outfield. This was his eighth start there in the past 12 games and it could become a more frequent occurrence.
"He has played well in the outfield with the confidence in his arm, the reaction to the ball, I think the legs feel good," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I know he likes playing in the field, it gives him some feel-good and confidence."
The list of guys who need to be used at DH is growing. Adrian Beltre is one of them. He played third Saturday and Sunday, but the Rangers are still monitoring his issues with a right calf muscle that put him on the disabled list for two months and a sprained left ankle that is his most recent health problem.
There is also Mike Napoli, who began the season as the first baseman but is on the disabled list with back spasms and a .196 batting average. When Napoli returns, he could find Joey Gallo standing on first base. Outfielder Carlos Gomez may also need extra care when he returns from a strained hamstring.
The DH spot could end up being the revolving door the Rangers envisioned. However, Choo may be going through it much less frequently.
"I think it's good any time you can get some of these guys off their legs and keep their bat in the game, especially experienced players with the number of games they have played," Banister said. "There is the added benefit of less stress on their bodies and legs."
That was one of the compelling reasons why the Rangers wanted Choo to be their DH. He was on the DL four times last year, but so far he has stayed off it.
"I'm listening to my body more," Choo said. "When I was young, I wasn't concerned with aches. Now if I feel something, I say something."