Breaking news out of Anaheim this evening is that Shin-Soo Choo has strained his right calf muscle and is likely headed to the disabled list. According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Choo hurt himself while doing some pre-game running in the outfield during batting practice. Grant reported that Choo's leg was "wrapped fairly heavily" and that it "may not be just a minor tweak".
As much as Choo's contract may be a bit of an albatross, we have found that as he goes, so goes the Rangers offense. As Choo's OPS reached monstrous levels in the second half of 2015 (1.016), the team found their stride and success became contagious.
He will be missed for whatever time he is gone.
Now starts the speculation. Who replaces Choo and how long will he be out? Odor is the logical move to fill his spot in the #2 hole, but who plays right and takes Choo's roster spot?
The obvious answer would involve Justin Ruggiano, who was DFAed yesterday to make room for SP AJ GriffinSome kind of split between Ruggiano and Ryan Rua would seem to be an excellent stop gap until Choo returns or until when (if) Josh Hamilton is able to go; whichever happens first.
But that doesn't seem to be the move.
As we learned last season when JD called up Gallo to fill in for the injured Adrian Beltre, Daniels is not afraid to go against conventional wisdom and give an opportunity to youth as needed.
According to our friends at ShutDownInning, Nomar Mazara was removed from Round Rock's game this evening (in which he and Gallo has combined for three HR) shortly following the announcement of Choo's injury. Nomar, unlike Lewis Brinson, is on the 40-man roster, so the move does not require additional traffic.
It looks like the future is now. Go time.
While the Gallo experiment did not go completely as planned last season, I am still very excited with the concept of Mazara getting his first taste this early. While we all seem to lump Gallo and Mazara into all of the same conversations, and with good reason, they are two completely different players with a varied usage of similar tools.
In short, Mazara's swing is much more fluid and more MLB ready than Gallo's. He does not have the explosive power of Gallo, but that is true for basically everyone not named Giancarlo Stanton. Mazara's fundamentals and balance lend to an advanced hit tool that put him in a better position to adjust and hit at the next level (though probably not at the .358 clip in which he hit after being moved up to AAA last season).
This is a fun franchise. Of course the lineup is going to miss this OBP of Choo and his patience that lends to additional work for opposing pitchers, but the depth of the franchise provides the fan base with an opportunity to experience exciting replacements rather than just throwing out a journeyman to fill a hole.
Even through injuries, it has become readily apparent how nice it is to be a Texas Rangers fan.