Regrets. That’s what Texas Rangers‘ outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has for rushing back too quickly from a severely sprained ankle earlier this season. There’s no doubt the South Korean slugger was feeling the pressure of his mammoth $130 million contract after a sluggish start, but how in the world did Choo convince both coaches and medical staff that he was okay when he really wasn’t?
Sure, teams in every sport rush star players back in the lineup too early sometimes, but that’s not my point. Could this same scenario happen again? Could Yu Darvish declare himself healthy next season in a pennant race when he really isn’t, and Texas championship hopes are snuffed out when the right-hander goes on the DL for rushing back too soon?
Choo sprained his ankle on April 21 against the Oakland Athletics, but did not go on the DL. More than three months later, the Rangers announced that because of his ankle issues, Choo will split time between the outfield and DH spots for the rest of the season. Fortunately, Texas is not fighting for the AL West crown this year, but somebody on Ron Washington‘s staff messed up.
The damage Choo did to his ankle by returning too soon should have never happened. What is the Rangers’ protocol for injured players trying to get back on the field?
Texas GM Jon Daniels almost has the two-time AL champion Rangers poised for another postseason run next season. The franchise will reap the benefits of a top-five draft pick from this year’s disastrous campaign, and it’s a good bet that another frontline starter will be arriving in the near future. However, Texas needs to make sure that injured players are not rushed back so quickly that they do more harm than good.