Choo could be back for start of ALDS

Choo could be back for start of ALDS

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are starting to become hopeful that Shin-Soo Choo could return at some point during the postseason, possibly at the beginning.

Choo underwent surgery on Aug. 17 for a fractured left forearm and was expected to be sidelined for eight weeks, but the progress he is making suggests he could be back quicker than that.

Choo has been hitting off a tee and is hoping to progress to soft toss on Tuesday. If that goes well, he will travel with the Rangers to Oakland this weekend and start taking regular batting practice.

The next step would be facing pitching in game situations. The Minor League season is over, but the Rangers have 85 players in instructional league in Surprise, Ariz.

At some point Choo will join that group.

"I'll be the top prospect," Choo joked.

Choo has time. The Rangers won't begin postseason play until Oct. 6, the scheduled date for Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

The Rangers have a set outfield of Ian Desmond and Carlos Gomez, plus the platoon of Nomar Mazara and Delino DeShields, but they miss Choo's presence in the leadoff spot.

The Rangers have four players with at least 100 leadoff at-bats, and Choo has the highest on-base percentage, at .362, followed by DeShields at .319, Jurickson Profar at .316 and Rougned Odor at .259.

The Rangers are currently using Gomez in the leadoff spot against right-handers and DeShields against left-handers.

"[Choo] has been the most consistent leadoff option we would have," manager Jeff Banister said. "If we can get him back, that would be great. We have seen what he can do in the leadoff spot."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.