Injury has slowed the return of Choi Ji-Man (32, San Diego Padres). He hoped to make a leap by changing teams, but he is crying over his bad luck.
Choi made his first start for San Diego’s Triple-A team, the El Paso Chihuahuas, against the Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado Rockies) on Sept. 15 and went 0-for-5 with a walk and a strikeout.
Choi, who is rehabbing from an injury, has struggled to find his groove, batting .160 (4-for-25) in seven games for El Paso this season.
The bad luck continues. Choi, whose big league dreams began with the Seattle Mariners minor league team in 2010, first broke into Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Baltimore Orioles, then the Los Angeles Angels, then the New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers before settling on the Tampa Bay Rays midway through 2018.
He had a career-high season in 2019 with a .261 batting average and 19 home runs, but even then he couldn’t overcome his weakness against left-handed pitching and his opportunities were limited in a rigorous platoon system.
Choi, who was traded to Pittsburgh after last season, was paired with Bae. After a quiet start to the season, he showed promise with back-to-back home runs, but an Achilles injury to his left foot sidelined him for about two months.
He came back and hit a home run against Shohei Ohtani (LAA) and hit .268 with an OPS of .929 in July, but was abruptly traded to San Diego.
With his new team, he slumped again. He drew five walks but failed to produce a hit in 11 at-bats.
Injuries struck again. Choi, who was placed on the disabled list with a rib injury on March 15, was hit in the back of the head by a pitch in a rehab game on March 6 as he prepared to return.
Luckily, it doesn’t seem to be a major issue and he’s been playing regularly, but he hasn’t been able to regain his batting touch.
This season is a very important one for Choi. After earning $3.2 million ($4.2 billion) last year, Choi went through a painful process with the Pittsburgh Pirates this year, signing for $4.65 million ($6.1 billion), which was not enough to get him the $5.4 million ($7.1 billion) he wanted.
He’ll need to stay healthy this season and perform better than he has in the past in order to land a big free agent deal, but so far, it’s hard to be optimistic.메이저놀이터
“Choi has been making steady rehab appearances in El Paso but hasn’t made much of an impact,” the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Thursday. “He was placed on the disabled list with a rib injury and has been rehabbing with fears of a right foot injury.”
San Diego is 69-78, fourth in the NL West and well out of the wild-card race, making fall baseball a long shot. He’ll need to do something to improve his value over the next 15 games, but even a return to the big leagues is far from assured.