Choo Shin-soo and last-place-Rangers hope for better 2nd half

July 14, 2014

$130 million Korean outfielder ends disappointing first half with 0.242 BA

Texas Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo, of Korea, avoids a close pitch. (AP)

Texas Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo, of Korea, avoids a close pitch. (AP)

ARLINGTON (Yonhap) — As he wrapped up a disappointing first half of the Major League Baseball (MLB) season with the Texas Rangers on Sunday, South Korean outfielder Choo Shin-soo said he will try to start the latter half from scratch.

Choo made an appearance as a pinch hitter and ended up going 0-for-2 against the Los Angeles Angels, as the Rangers fell 10-7.

The Rangers, a trendy preseason pick to contend for the World Series, are entering the All-Star break with the worst record in the majors at 38-57, which leaves them last among four clubs in the American League West and 21 games behind the division-leading Oakland Athletics.

Choo finished the first half batting just .242 with nine homers and 33 RBIs in 90 games. His on-base percentage, which was well above .400 through May, now sits at .362.

Choo’s struggles at the plate have had much to do with the Rangers’ woes. He signed a seven-year, US$130-million contract with Texas in December, after a productive season with the Cincinnati Reds.

In 2013, Choo was among the National League leaders in on-base percentage, runs scored and walks, and enjoyed his third 20-20 season with 21 homers and 20 steals.

The Rangers counted on him to be the force at the top of their vaunted lineup, but Choo has yet to live up to expectations.

Choo suffered through a June to forget, batting just .179 and getting on base at a .278 clip during the month.

“Whether it’s myself personally or the team, it’s been a hugely disappointing first half,” Choo said. “Some veterans have held players-only meetings to try to turn things around, but they haven’t worked out.”

Choo had a decent start to the season but sprained his left ankle in late April when he stepped hard on first base trying to beat out an infield single.

When asked if his ankle has been a reason for his sluggish performance, Choo said, “Whatever I say now will be an excuse. Pains have mostly subsided but I still feel some discomfort.”

“Above all, I haven’t had a good season,” Choo added. “And with injuries piling up, the team morale has been quite low. I am going to prepare for the second half like I am getting ready for a new season. I hope my ankle will get better.”