Michael Choice has some expectations coming to the Texas Rangers from the AL West rival Oakland A's. Choice was brought over via trade for fan favorite Craig Gentry and is now being thrust into a competition to earn a spot on the Rangers' big-league roster as a fourth outfielder or platoon designated hitter to pair with Mitch Moreland.
In Thursday's Cactus League debut against the Kansas City Royals, Choice got off to a good start in his quest to win a spot on the Opening Day roster. More importantly, perhaps, he did it against left-handed pitching, which will be his role as a platoon DH, while Moreland gets the at-bats against righties.
Choice went 2-for-2 on Thursday, getting hits off veteran lefties Bruce Chen and Danny Duffy, including a perfectly executed hit-and-run in the first inning that had to please manager Ron Washington.
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The Arlington native and former UTA standout can play all three outfield positions and seemed to be on the verge of a breakout with Oakland before he was dealt to the Rangers for Gentry, who was a nice player but had a ceiling of a fourth outfielder. Choice's ceiling seems, on the surface anyway, to be much higher.
Before a September call-up with Oakland, he spent the 2013 season in Triple-A Sacramento, where he hit .302 with 14 home runs and 89 RBIs while scoring 90 runs. He also had a very respectable .390 on-base percentage.