Choo wants to return but not risk further injury

Choo wants to return but not risk further injury

ARLINGTON -- Shin-Soo Choo said an MRI he had on Friday revealed his strained right calf is "80 percent better," and the right fielder hopes to start a rehab assignment in the next two weeks and return to the Rangers by the third week of May.

Choo, who suffered the injury running sprints before a game in Anaheim on April 10, said his biggest concern is not rushing back too quickly and having a setback that could keep him out much longer. He has never had a similar calf injury, and he wants to be cautious.

"This kind of injury is a little bit different than other injuries -- if my elbow's not 100 percent, I can play, because I'm not throwing all the time, I can control it," Choo said. "But the calf, every movement you use it -- especially in the outfield, the first move, first step. If I hurt it again in the same area, that's double -- eight weeks, more than two months. I want to be back early, but I have to listen to my body … we still have five months left in the season."

Choo said the latest MRI gave him some peace of mind that his recovery is on track.

"I'm feeling good, and said, 'OK, I can push it more,' but I said want to know [for sure]," he said.

Choo was hitting .188 (3-for-16) when he went down before the sixth game of the season. He said he felt so fresh that he asked to do extra speed work to improve his baserunning, and the decision backfired.

"My body felt like I was with the Indians, like 27, 28 years old, so I wanted to do extra work in the outfield after BP," Choo said. "We did [the sprints] five times. I did four times good, last one full speed and then 'pop.' Kind of a stupid injury."

Rangers beat

• Catcher Robinson Chirinos continues to rehab his broken right forearm and will have an MRI on Tuesday to see if it has healed. He could be on a rehab assignment within the next week to 10 days, if the tests go well. In the meantime he's limited to catching in the cages, but not throwing.

"I feel like I'm healing really fast," he said. "I want to have my whole body ready when [the forearm] is ready."

The Rangers will have some decisions to make soon at catcher with the impending return of Chirinos and Chris Gimenez (who is on a rehab assignment at Frisco). Brett Nicholas came up and made his Major League debut after Chirinos was injured in the second week of the season. He was hitting .240 in seven games going into Saturday. Bryan Holaday, whom the Rangers traded for when it became apparent Gimenez would be on the DL to start the year, is hitting .171 in 12 games. He has been ace Cole Hamels' personal catcher since Chirinos was injured.

Shawn Tolleson has allowed only one earned run in the past eight appearances going into Saturday, after he did not record an out in his second and third outings of the season. Over that eight-game stretch, he has seven saves, a 1.13 ERA, five strikeouts and a .172 opponents' batting average.

"I don't feel any different than I did to start the season -- I had a really bad game and besides that, I think it's been OK," Tolleson said.

• Center fielder Delino DeShields started 16 of the Rangers' first 18 games, but amid recent, prolonged struggles at the plate, he has been out of the lineup twice in the past week including Friday's win over the Angels. DeShields is hitting .067 (2-for-30) over the past eight games. Manager Jeff Banister started DeShields again Saturday and said he is not too worried yet about DeShields' hitting.

"The numbers have not played out well for him as far as the batting average [but] he's still been able to get on base for us," Banister said. "That's important, as long as he continues to keep that the focus, the on-base, his hits are going to come for him."

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com based in Arlington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.