Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi will be sidelined for three to five weeks after undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee, manager Kevin Cash announced this morning (Twitter link via Rays broadcaster Neil Solondz). Because the surgery has yet to be performed, a concrete timeline is not yet known, but he’ll likely be out into May. Choi’s surgery is set for tomorrow morning.
Choi has been hobbled by discomfort in his knee this spring and hasn’t suited up for a game since mid-March. He appeared in just five official Grapefruit League games before being shut down, and it now looks as though his absence will ultimately span a couple of months in total. Yoshi Tsutsugo has been logging some time at first base and could see extra at-bats in Choi’s absence, and the Rays also have Yandy Diaz and Mike Brosseau as options there. Second baseman Brandon Lowe played a handful of games at first base in 2019 as well.
The 29-year-old Choi has spent the past two and a half seasons with the Rays, turning in a strong .257/.359/.461 batting line with 30 homers, 45 doubles and three triples through 821 trips to the plate. Based on the strength of that showing, he and the Rays agreed to a one-year, $2.45MM contract over the winter during his first trip through the arbitration process.