CLEVELAND -- Three weeks to the day after sustaining a right thumb sprain that put his season in jeopardy, Shin-Soo Choo returned to the Indians' lineup on Friday night.
Cleveland activated the right fielder and placed lefty Aaron Laffey on the 15-day disabled list prior to its series opener against Tampa Bay at Progressive Field. Tribe manager Manny Acta inserted Choo into the No. 3 spot of his batting order.
"It's nice to have him back," Acta said of the 28-year-old Choo, who was batting .286 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs through 78 games this season. "He's a multitalented threat. He gives us stability and helps lengthen our lineup a little bit."
Choo, who injured the thumb diving for Jack Cust's double in the eighth inning on July 2 against Oakland, went 1-for-11 in three games with Double-A Akron earlier this week.
Did Choo think about his thumb during those at-bats?
"Yes. No doubt about it," Choo said. "But the point is not to get hits. It's to see pitching, so I'm more comfortable when I get back.
"I really miss playing. It's really tough watching from the dugout. When I was watching at home, I really wanted to do something."
And now that he's back, Choo is eager to put the injury behind him.
"I don't feel anything," he said. "It's not like normal, but it feels good. I hope there's no problem the rest of the year. That's what I want."
John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.