Choo returns: How do you line them up?

With left handed reliever Andrew Faulkner being optioned back to AAA Round Rock, the Rangers have opened up a spot for Shin-Soo Choo’s return from the disabled list.  Choo’s stint on the disabled list, which started on April 9 for a strained right calf, opened the door for Nomar Mazara to get his first taste of the big leagues, adding a dynamic new bat to the Rangers arsenal. 

So, now that Choo is expected to be back tonight, what changes can we expect in the lineup? 

The first thought is that Choo will probably slot back into right field, with Mazara shifting to left, and Desmond remaining in center, providing the Rangers with their stoutest hitting outfield in the last few seasons.  It seems as if the Rangers have always had at least one light hitting outfielder in recent memory, with more left fielders than Spinal Tap drummers last season (for real, Mike Napoli: left fielder?), and previous outfielders such as the streaky (yet beloved) David Murphy, constantly bunting Leonys Martin, Julio Borbon, and quick as a kitten Craig Gentry. 

This trio provides an outfield without any offensive holes, but how do they fit into the batting lineup?

We have to assume that Choo slots back into the leadoff role, shifting Odor to the 2-hole.  In an incredibly small sample size of five games before his injury, Choo was only hitting .188, but sported an OBP of .409, walking four times and being hit by two pitches.  Choo getting on base was the catalyst to last year’s offensive turnaround, and you have to like the idea of him constantly getting on base in front of the big bats.

So with Choo at leadoff and Odor hitting second, where do we go from there?

One lineup (although unlikely) pitched by Jared Sandler from the Rangers radio pre and post-game shows goes as follows:

  1. Choo
  2. Odor
  3. Beltre
  4. Mazara
  5. Desmond
  6. Moreland
  7. Andrus
  8. Fielder
  9. Catcher du jour

Wow; that lineup has some pop and balance.  I don’t see Banny being to the point where he is ready to have the world’s most expensive 8-hole hitter, but this is not a bad proposal. 

Here is my proposed best lineup:

  1. Choo
  2. Odor
  3. Desmond
  4. Beltre
  5. Mazara
  6. Moreland (vs RHP)/Rua (vs LHP)
  7. Fielder
  8. Andrus
  9. Catcher

This doesn’t have as much L/R alternating balance, but I think it puts people in the right spot to perform their best duties.  I would also like to see Choo get some days at DH to give Prince some days off and to minimize stress on Shin-Soo, with Rua getting the start in left and Mazara shifting back to right.

Readers:  What do you think the best lineup is after the return Choo?  Add your thoughts to the comments section.