Choi imminent return, accompanying ML away → rehabilitation game in early June… “He’s a strong man,” says former teammate

[Pittsburgh, PA, USA] Choi Ji-Man (32-Pittsburgh Pirates) is on track to return from injury. He is expected to make a minor league rehab assignment as early as June.

“My condition has improved a lot,” Choi said to Star News before a home game against Texas at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on June 23 메이저사이트 (Korean time), “and I’m doing my best to rehabilitate every day because I want to return as soon as possible and contribute to the team’s strength.”

He was placed on the injured list (IL) in mid-April with a left Achilles tendon injury, but was in good spirits on the field before the game, playing catch with a trainer. He started throwing the ball at close range and gradually increased the distance, hitting long tosses up to about 40 meters. Afterward, he practiced walking in the outfield to check the condition of his Achilles.

Choi said, “You never know what the future holds, but so far, the rehabilitation process is going well and according to the doctor’s expectations and plan. The situation has improved so much that he will accompany the team to Seattle on the 27th,” said Choi.

Having a player on the injured reserve list with the team is a positive sign of progress. The team can take it as a sign that they want to focus on Choi’s rehabilitation and speed up his return.

One of Choi’s former teammates, infielder Brad Miller, 34, who met him in the Texas clubhouse, was also optimistic about his return. “He’s a strong guy with a good mindset,” Miller said. He’ll come back from this Achilles injury like it’s nothing, just like he’s done in the past. I believe in him,” he said emphatically.

The “past” Miller is referring to is spring training 2015, when he and Choi played together in Seattle. Choi was injured in the first exhibition game of spring training against San Diego. With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, the shortstop leaped to catch a badly hit ball and collided with the opposing runner at first base. In the aftermath of the collision, Choi fractured a bone in his right ankle and later tore a ligament in his right ankle on the landing.

“Many major league officials, including myself, thought his 2015 season was over,” Miller recalls, “but he defied the odds and returned in August.” Choi finished the year with a .298 batting average with one home run and 16 RBIs in 18 Triple-A games. His health helped pave the way for his major league debut the following December, when he was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the Major League Baseball Rule 5 draft.

If his condition doesn’t worsen, Choi will begin a rehabilitation stint in the minors in early June, and if all goes well, he’ll be back with the team in mid-June.

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