Pirates’ Choi Ji-man doubles in minor league rehab game, eyes June return

June 23, 2023

Sidelined since April with an Achilles injury, Choi Ji-man of the Pittsburgh Pirates has started his rehab assignment in the minors, with an eye on a return before the end of this month.

The Pirates said Thursday (U.S. local time) that the South Korean first baseman played in a game for Double-A Altoona Curve earlier in the day at Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Batting second and playing first base, Choi went 1-for-2, the lone hit being a double in the first inning. He was replaced by Jacob Gonzalez at first base to begin the top of the sixth.

Choi was placed on the 10-day injured list (IL) on April 15, retroactive to April 14, with a strained left Achilles. He was transferred to the 60-day IL on April 23.

At the time of the move, the Pirates had said Choi would miss eight weeks, though the condition didn’t require surgery.

“I was actually a bit nervous, because it’s been a while since I last played a game,” Choi was quoted as saying on MLB.com. “I was also worried about the timing, but it was better than what I thought. I thought it was pretty good overall.”

Choi first suffered the Achilles strain during spring training. He was batting .125 with two home runs and two RBIs in nine games before hitting the IL.

This is Choi’s first season with the Pirates, following an offseason trade from the Tampa Bay Rays. He is set to become a free agent after this season.