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Choo surging into spotlight for Indians

Choo surging into spotlight for Indians

SEATTLE -- During every game of this series, Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo is reminding his former team, the Mariners, how talented he is.

Entering Sunday's game, Choo was 4-for-10 in the first three games of the four-game series against Seattle with a home run, two doubles, six RBIs, a stolen base and three runs scored. He's also drawn three walks, which means he's been on base in seven of 13 plate appearances.

Overall this year, Choo is hitting .296 with 16 home runs and 69 RBIs and has stolen 17 bases. And he's been even better of late. Over his last 13 games, he's batting .375 (18-for-48) with two homers and 10 RBIs and has reached safely in 28 of his last 58 plate appearances. Entering Sunday's action, Choo had a .393 on-base percentage, which ranked seventh in the American League.

At the age of 28 and given the fact that he's only had one season (2009) in which he played more than 150 games (156) and got close to 600 at-bats (583), Indians manager Manny Acta and Choo's teammates have to be wondering what numbers he might put up if he had 600 at-bats in a year.

"He's a guy that can do everything on the baseball field," Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner said. "He's a five-tool guy. He hits for average, he hits for power and he's only going to get better. He can hit .300 or higher with 30 homers and 100-some RBIs. He's extremely talented.

"He's a guy that was always talented, but he really adjusted to pitching at the big league level pretty quickly and developed into a .300 hitter quickly. So I think the last thing is just going from hitting 20-to-25 homers to hitting 30. And he definitely has the pop to do that."

Acta said a lot of what Choo does in the future could depend on the players in the lineup with him.

"His year this year has been a very good one, but it could have been a lot better if he would have had Grady Sizemore in front of him, getting on base and stealing bases, and also if [shortstop Asdrubal] Cabrera wouldn't have missed 50 games with that [fractured left forearm] injury," Acta said.

"It all revolves around the other people," Acta added. "It's a team effort, and you see it in a lot of teams. Guys who drive in runs, a lot of times it's because guys are getting on base in front of them. Those 600 at-bats, I would love to see him with those guys in front of him and with some guys protecting him like Hafner and [injured catcher Carlos] Santana. It could be interesting."

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