Choo comes off DL, slots in Rangers' lineup

Outfielder back ahead of schedule from forearm fracture

Choo comes off DL, slots in Rangers' lineup

ARLINGTON -- In late August, Shin-Soo Choo said he planned to return from the disabled list during the postseason. That seemed like a lofty expectation at the time, considering he was forced to have surgery after a pitch from A's lefty Ross Detwiler fractured his left forearm on Aug. 15.

Choo surpassed even his own timeline on Friday, when he was activated from the 15-day disabled list as the Rangers opened their final series of the regular season against the Rays. He went 1-for-4 in a 3-1 Texas win, batting seventh and playing right field for the series opener.

"I know I've had a lot of injuries this year," Choo said. "That's part of the year, that's part of life, and that's part of the game. But I always come back strong. A lot of people were saying I was going to be out for the season, but I kept telling myself that I could come back."

Choo, who's made four trips to the DL this season, knows the decision on whether he makes the Rangers' postseason roster is out of his hands. He played in three instructional league games leading up to his activation, going 6-for-15 with a home run, four walks and three RBIs.

"We want to see how the at-bats go, how he puts them together -- the rhythm and timing of it all," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Then it's how he moves around the outfield, and what his legs look like. That's the other part of this. The legs have got to be in shape to play at a high level."

Choo had been productive when healthy, with a .366 on-base percentage this year. With two games left, the Rangers don't have the luxury of giving him an off-day to see how the forearm responds. They expect him to play in all three games against the Rays.

"If he doesn't play, obviously, that presents another challenge," Banister said. "We need for him to post up [every day]."

All signs pointed to Choo's latest injury knocking him out for the year. Catcher Robinson Chirinos dealt with a similar injury that kept him out for 53 games this year -- Choo's forearm fracture has kept him out for 39 games.

"What a story this guy is," center fielder Ian Desmond said. "He's unbelievable, extremely resilient. He pushed himself to get back early. I think that's what this clubhouse is pretty much made up of -- guys like that, who are eager to work."

Rangers beat

• Desmond and right-hander Yu Darvish were selected as finalists for the 2016 Player's Choice American League Comeback Player of the Year Award. Orioles outfielder Mark Trumbo was the other finalist.

Cole Hamels reached 200 innings and strikeouts during his start against the Brewers on Wednesday. He's just the third Rangers pitcher to do it in the last 26 seasons. Darvish had been the last to reach those marks (2013).

• If the Rangers sweep the Rays, they'll set the club's regular-season record with 97 wins. They entered Friday tied for the third-most regular-season wins in club history.

Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.