Shin-Soo Choo usually has little trouble getting to first base, but can he play it? The Rangers are trying to find out. Max Faulkner mfaulkner@star-telegram.com
Shin-Soo Choo usually has little trouble getting to first base, but can he play it? The Rangers are trying to find out. Max Faulkner mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Texas Rangers

Choo’s on first? Rangers giving outfielder a look

September 30, 2017 06:08 PM

UPDATED October 01, 2017 12:01 AM

ARLINGTON

Shin-Soo Choo usually is among the Texas Rangers hitters who has the least trouble reaching first base, as his .358 on-base percentage this season would suggest.

Among hitters with enough at-bats to qualify as a league leader, Choo ranks first on the team.

On Saturday, for the third time this week, Choo worked on playing first base.

The right fielder was handed a first baseman’s glove before batting practice, and he and infield coach Tony Beasley worked at a position that is in flux for the Rangers entering the off-season.

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Choo might be part of the equation at a position he hasn’t played in 20 years.

“High school,” Choo said. “We don’t know yet. It gives me another option.”

Choo said that he wouldn’t be at first base more than a couple games a week, but even that would give the team more options at first base, where Mike Napoli isn’t expected to return and where Joey Gallo might not have his best value to the team.

Should the Rangers decide they want Gallo as their 2018 left fielder, Choo would be one of several internal candidates to plug in at first. Ryan Rua, Drew Robinson, Jurickson Profar and Ronald Guzman have all at least dabbled there, with Guzman having the most games there in the minors but the least amount of big-league experience.

Choo said that he was messing around during a recent batting practice at first base, but his hands caught the attention of Beasley. As Choo said, there’s no guarantee this experiment bears any fruit.

If it does, it would be another way for the Rangers to keep Choo healthy instead of just plugging him in a designated hitter. That’s another position where the Rangers like to have versatility.