Choi undergoing surgery, plus a good-looking lineup
Mariners first base prospect Ji-Man Choi will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair a broken right leg after injuring himself leaping for a high throw in Wednesday’s Cactus League opener against the Padres.
Choi will likely be sidelined four-to-six months, according to manager Lloyd McClendon, after fracturing his fibula, which is the long, thin bone in the lower leg.
“He clipped a little bit, spun around and landed on his ankle. It was an unfortunate play,” McClendon said of the ninth-inning mishap on a high throw from shortstop Tyler Smith.
Choi, a 23-year-old from South Korea, played in 70 games at Triple-A Tacoma last year in a season shortened by a 50-game suspension following a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance. He was likely ticketed for Tacoma again this year, but he was one of several first basemen in camp providing depth behind starter Logan Morrison.
Choi hit .283 with five homers and 30 RBIs in 237 at-bats for Tacoma in 2014 after a strong ’13 season in which he batted .295 with 18 homers and 85 RBIs in 122 games split between Class A High Desert, Double-A Jackson and Tacoma.
“He’s a nice talent,” McClendon said. “He can swing the bat. It’s unfortunate.”
Choi had to be carted off the field after falling in a heap near the first-base bag.
“That was tough,” teammate D.J. Peterson said. “I didn’t know what happened or how bad it was, I just know instantly he started reaching for it. That’s unfortunate. You never want to see that for anybody.”
In other Thursday news:
— The Mariners are still waiting to clear up the situation with left-handed reliever Edgar Olmos, whose waiver claim by the Rangers was reversed Wednesday due to issues with his shoulder. The Rangers claimed Olmos off waivers last week, but then made the unusual move of returning the 24-year-old after discovering he had an impingement in his throwing shoulder. The Mariners originally claimed Olmos off waivers from the Marlins on Nov. 20, but designated him for assignment to open a 40-man roster spot after signing Rickie Weeks last month.
— After playing all reserves in Wednesday’s Cactus League opener, McClendon put together a lineup for Thursday’s rematch with the Padres that looked very close to a potential regular starting nine against a right-handed pitcher. McClendon said he’ll begin dividing up his veterans in coming days, but wanted to get most of them time together on Thursday since the schedule has road games on Friday and Sunday and a split-squad situation Saturday.
Here’s the lineups for Thursday’s game, which will be broadcast live on ROOT Sports and MLB.TV: