Choo Shin-soo of the Texas Rangers was unable to play in an exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox in Arizona on Tuesday due to a sore elbow. It is the sixth time Choo has had to sit out a game in 13 tune-ups this year, and the third straight exhibition game he has missed following fixtures against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday and the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.
In an interview with a U.S. media outlet after Tuesday's game, Choo said he experiences similar pain every spring. "At the end of a season, when you stop throwing, your muscles shrink," he said. "When you start throwing again, your muscles get extended and I get a little inflammation. I don't want to play and make it worse. It's feeling better today."
He feels pain in the elbow triceps but it's not serious, assistant general manager Thad Levine said. It's most likely simple muscular pain, but to ease the soreness, the team allowed Choo to take a rest for one or two more days, Levine added.
If Choo continues to suffer from ailments and injuries he may struggle to perform at a desirable level this season. As he signed a seven-year, US$130 million deal with the Rangers -- the largest deal ever reached by an Asian player in Major League Baseball -- he is under significant pressure to prove himself a worthy investment.
Despite spending lavishly over the years to acquire new players, the Rangers have never won the World Series. If Choo underperforms he will be bombarded with complaints from fans and the media alike.
In February, Fangraphs.com, a website providing statistics for every MLB player, described the club's deal with Choo as the third-worst transaction of the 2014 off-season.
The Rangers "should buy a better overall player than Choo Shin-soo. The things he does well, he does very well, and they certainly have value, but he's not a good fielder, he doesn't hit left-handed pitching, and he doesn't even have that much power for a guy whose value is almost entirely tied up in his bat," it said.
In order for Choo to overcome such unfavorable opinions and give a consistent performance throughout the season, it is important for him to hit the ground running and get his injuries under control.