In an unexpected move, the Cleveland Indians have activated outfielder Shin-Soo Choo from the disabled list today. To make room on their roster for Choo, Cleveland designated Austin Kearns for assignment.
Choo has been out since July 24th after being hit by a pitch that broke his right thumb. Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez came up and in on Choo who was unable to get out of the way and took the pitch directly to the hand.
Soon after sustaining the fracture, Choo underwent surgery during which a screw and metal plate were inserted into his right hand.
Originally the Tribe was left wondering if and not when Choo would be returning to action. They thought that if they were to see him on the field again this season, it would be closer to late August or September.
But Choo had been progressing through his rehab process very well and as of yesterday was on pace to rejoin the club next week after wrapping up his minor league assignment this weekend.
Cleveland shocked many this morning by reinstating the right fielder, signaling that they believe Choo is healthy enough to help the club.
Choo has been one of the Indians’ best offensive producers over the past several years, but struggled to begin this season. Before the injury, he put together a line of .244/.333/.353 over 72 games. Still, Cleveland hopes that upon returning Choo starts showing the ability that’s earned him a .383 career OBP and .835 OPS.
Kearns has been a backup outfielder for the club this season and hasn’t offered much at all on the offensive end. The 31 year old’s batting average stands at the Mendoza line after 57 games this season.
The move could come off as a bit desperate considering the Indians’ loss last night dropped them 3 games back of the AL Central leading Tigers. Cleveland is now 58-57 on the year and 12.5 out of the Wild Card race. After a hot start to the 2011 season, the Tribe has only managed a second half record of 11-15.
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