Choo Adjusting Well to Left Field

Choo's aiming to return to Seattle (Max Waugh)

For those that grew up playing little league or even kickball, playing in left field – or in some cases, deep left field – was designed to inform you that your defensive skills were being called into question. In the case of Tacoma outfielder Shin-soo Choo, he's playing left field for the first time this season for a much different reason.

For Choo, playing everyday in left field in the Pacific Coast League just might be his ticket back to the Seattle Mariners after going 1-for-3 during a 14-day stint with the big league club.

At the end of his 2004 season at Double-A San Antonio, the Texas League named Choo to the post-season All-Star team. It was with the Missions that the 22-year-old Korean patrolled right field while getting a bit of time in the other two outfield spots. It was also with the Missions that Choo finished fifth in the league with a .315 batting average and swiped a team-high 40 bases.

This season has been markedly different for Choo, though.

He began the season as the Rainiers' left-fielder because the Mariners' main man, Ichiro Suzuki, already has that patch of grass in right field at Safeco Field reserved for years to come.

While Choo has continued to perform as expected in his first season at the Triple-A level, Rainiers' manager Dan Rohn believes there is more to come.

"He's started to hit the ball to all fields and hasn't been quite as pull conscious as he was early," Rohn said. "He made the adjustment and now he's hitting the ball to all fields.

"His biggest difference is that he's using the whole ballfield."

Through Tuesday, Choo is batting .289 with four home runs, 16 RBI and 19 walks. He's also 7-for-11 in stolen base attempts.

"(He needs to) keep working on his defense and baserunning," Rohn added.

While Choo is currently error-less on the season, there have been a few times in which his inexperience in left has come into play.

During the Round Rock series, Choo misplayed several balls in the outfield, but that's nothing unexpected in the transition to a new position.

He believes he simply needs to get re-adjusted to playing everyday, something he wasn't accustomed to in his two weeks with the Mariners.

"I didn't get to play that much in Seattle," Choo said. "I need to keep working on (playing) left field, getting adjusted and all."

"I need to feel more comfortable."

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