September 29, 2020 13:23
Choo Shin-soo of the Texas Rangers led off as the first designated hitter in the club's season finale against the Houston Astros in Texas on Sunday.
It was his first appearance since he injured his right wrist during a game on Sept. 7. He dropped a surprise bunt down the third base line and beat the throw to first, but was replaced due to an ankle sprain.
But the game was likely his last one with the club and indeed Major League Baseball as his contract with the Rangers expires at the end of the season, and he gave it everything he had right up to the end.
Choo signed a seven-year, US$130-million contract with the club after the 2013 season, the first Asian player in MLB history to sign a deal worth over $100 million.
After he joined the club, he suffered frequent injuries but appeared in 799 games, more than in any his previous clubs. Out of 1,671 hits and 218 home runs during his MLB career, he racked up 771 hits and 114 home runs for the team.
He earned a spot in the All-Star game in 2018, during which he reached base in 52 consecutive games, the longest streak among active MLB players. In 2019, he became the first Asian player in MLB to reach 200 home runs.
But considering his age and the Rangers in rebuilding mode, the club is unlikely to renew his contract.
On behalf of Choo, the Rangers invited his family to the game although no spectators were allowed.
"I'll never forget today," he said after the game. "I really appreciate" the club allowing him to play in the season finale and inviting his family. "I walked in the batter's box, and I saw the scoreboard. They showed my family, so it made me very emotional."
In an interview the previous day, he said he wants to play a couple more years, but it seems unlikely that he will find another team as all are suffering financial difficulties due to the coronavirus epidemic.
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