CLEVELAND — In what manager Manny Acta called a “mental break,” scuffling right fielder Shin-Soo Choo was given the night off Saturday.
Choo, who many believed was poised to have a breakout season, has instead slumped through the majority of it, batting just .242 with five home runs and 22 RBIs in 54 games. He has one homer since April 29 and none since May 13, failing to drive in a run since May 22.
“I think (he’s pressing),” Acta said of Choo, who is batting .182 (10-for-55) with runners in scoring position. “It’s normal. He’s had success here the last two years and he knows he’s very important to us. He feels he’s representing the Cleveland Indians, but also all of South Korea.
“I just want to give him some time to relax, so he can realize it’s still early.”
Just over two months into the regular season and it’s already been a trying year for Choo, who was arrested for DUI on May 2 in Sheffield Lake.
“That’s extra stuff that’s been brought into his life,” Acta said. “He’s been over here for 10 years playing baseball and that’s the first mistake he’s made off the field. He’s carrying a lot of weight because of that.”
Also prompting Acta to rest Choo is that today will be a day off for Grady Sizemore and the manager wanted at least one of them in the lineup in the two games.
Third baseman Jack Hannahan missed his second straight game with soreness in his left hamstring. He was replaced again by utility infielder Adam Everett.
The Indians still don’t view the injury as serious with Acta saying Hannahan was available to pinch hit Saturday night.
Indians pitchers began taking batting practice Saturday in preparation for a stretch of nine games (June 24-July 3) at National League Parks.
Cleveland hosts Pittsburgh and Colorado (June 17-22) in three-game series before hitting the road for three-game sets with San Francisco (June 24-26), Arizona (June 27-29) and Cincinnati (July 1-3).
Triple-A Columbus reliever Nick Hagadone allowed seven earned runs in his first six appearances after being promoted from Double-A Akron, including four in just 2/3 of an inning in a 10-4 loss to Louisville on Friday. Hagadone, acquired along with Justin Masterson in the Victor Martinez trade with Boston in 2009, went 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA in 12 games (22 2/3 innings) for the Aeros. … Class A Lake County center fielder LeVon Washington (second-round draft pick in 2010) went 3-for-5 with three runs in the Captains’ 8-7 victory over Clinton on Friday. He began the season at extended spring training with as leg injury, entering Saturday batting .225 with two RBIs in 24 games.
Second baseman Orlando Cabrera entered Saturday just three hits shy of 2,000 for his career. … Backup catcher Lou Marson entered Saturday with just one hit in 33 at-bats against right-handed pitching. … Tom Widenbauer, Cleveland’s minor league field coordinator, filled in as first base coach for Sandy Alomar, who attended the graduation of his daughter from Westlake High School. … Today, 1:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM/WEOL 930-AM. Talbot (2-1, 4.50) vs. Wilson (5-3, 3.32).
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.