TODAY: Choi has been officially placed on the 10-day IL. Right-hander Oliver Drake has been activated from the injured list to fill the spot on the active roster.
SEPTEMBER 13: Choi has a grade one hamstring strain and is being placed on the 10-day injured list, manager Kevin Cash announced to reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). The club anticipates a two to three week absence, relays Juan Toribio of MLB.com.
SEPTEMBER 12: Rays first baseman/DH Ji-Man Choi left tonight’s game with what the team described as a left hamstring strain. Choi apparently suffered the injury while scoring a run in the fourth inning of tonight’s tilt between the Red Sox and Rays, and Yoshi Tsutsugo replaced Choi in the DH spot during what would have been Choi’s next plate appearance.
More will be known about Choi’s status after the game, as depending on the severity of the strain, Choi’s availability for the rest of the regular season and postseason could be in question. It would be a notable loss to a Rays team that currently has the best winning percentage in the American League and is hopeful of making a deep run into October.
Choi has been Tampa Bay’s primary first baseman against right-handed pitching this season. Entering today’s action, 125 of Choi’s 143 plate appearances have been against righties, and he owns a .240/.344/.413 slash line in those 125 PA. While Choi is primarily a left-handed hitter, Choi has dabbled in switch-hitting this year and also even taken a couple of plate appearances as a right-handed hitter against righty pitching, though this experimentation hasn’t led to much production.
Though Choi has gotten the bulk of action at first base, the always-deep Rays have options if Choi did have to hit the injured list. The left-handed Nate Lowe could slide right into Choi’s role, with Mike Brosseau serving as the top right-handed hitting first base candidate when a southpaw is on the mound. Yandy Diaz, another righty bat, is currently on the IL with a hamstring injury but there is some hope Diaz could be back before the end of the regular season.