ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are less than a week away from the Trade Deadline and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo remains out of the lineup for the sixth straight game.
The Rangers revealed over the weekend Choo was dealing with a variety of ailments. Manager Chris Woodward said an oblique muscle is the biggest concern.
“We want to make sure that when he swings, he's not risking blowing out that oblique, but I think overall he feels pretty good right now,” Woodward said. “I'd like to get him back in there whenever he's ready."
Woodward admitted the Rangers are playing short-handed with Choo unavailable and three catchers on the roster. But so far, the Rangers have resisted the idea of putting Choo on the injured list.
"We thought about it,” Woodward said. “And I think if he's going to miss another couple days, it probably makes sense to do that. But with these series, we'd like to have him available, even if it is only for one or two games. It was worth having him miss six or seven days at least so he could play in the last three.”
There is also a possibility the Rangers need Choo back on the field so they can show other clubs he is healthy before the Trade Deadline. Choo is a free agent after the season and also has 10-and-5 trade veto rights.
“If you are looking at it from a trade standpoint, it would be important,” Woodward said. “I am looking at it from, these are big games for us to win, so I would prefer to have Choo on the field and in the lineup because he is one of our best hitters. Obviously, if you have a thought to trade him, you’d like to see him play.”
Choo, who turned 38 in July, is hitting .211/.296/.366, so his trade value isn’t soaring. He has also started 11 games in the outfield and just six at designated hitter.
The National League is using the designated hitter, so that could create a greater need. Going into Wednesday’s game, there were only four players in the National League with at least 40 at-bats at DH. There were also just four players with at least 25 at-bats at DH and an OPS of over .800.
The Rangers also need Choo if they are still serious about trying to reach the postseason. Willie Calhoun is sidelined with a strained left hamstring and it’s doubtful if he’ll return before the end of the season. Catchers Jose Trevino and Robinson Chirinos are being used at designated hitter right now.
The Rangers' bench was further eroded on Tuesday when Rougned Odor was scratched from the original lineup with a right eye infection. Odor has one hit in his last 19 at-bats, dropping his batting average to .150 on the season, with a .288 slugging percentage.
Backup utility infielder Yadiel Rivera started at second. It was his first start there for the Rangers and first in the big leagues since 2018 with the Marlins.
• The Rangers have released catcher Blake Swihart from the alternate camp. His departure leaves the Rangers with three catchers at the alternate training site: Nick Ciuffo, Tim Federowicz and Sam Huff.
• Reliever Jonathan Hernández on what he writes on the back of the mound before he pitches: “I write ‘rest in peace’ to my mom and ‘all I do is for my family.’”
• Right-hander Lance Lynn is the first Rangers pitcher to ever open a season with seven straight starts of two runs or less. He is second in the American League with a 1.59 ERA.