CLEVELAND -- Shin-Soo Choo knew if he came out of the game, he'd be sidelined for the foreseeable future. But after he trotted out to right field in the fifth inning Saturday, he knew he had no choice.
Choo tweaked his strained left oblique muscle during his second at-bat in the third inning of an 8-7 win against the Royals. At first, he pleaded with Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff to allow him to stay in the game. When he made his way to the outfield in the ensuing frame, however, he felt pain with each step he took.
"Every step of my foot, it hurt," Choo said. "Everybody in the dugout saw my body language. Lonnie wanted me to come out of the game. I said, 'Lonnie, give me a couple innings.' If I come out of the game, I know I'm not coming back for a couple days. Then, after an inning of defense, I came back in the dugout and came out of the game."
Choo first suffered the injury during an eighth-inning at-bat in the nightcap of Tuesday's twin bill. He sat out Wednesday's contest and didn't enter Friday's game until the eighth inning. He felt healthy enough to play after pain-free batting practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, but the pain in his left side returned.
Initially, Soloff and manager Manny Acta said Choo wouldn't pick up a bat for at least a couple of days. Choo said Monday he could take some swings this weekend, but by the time he regains a rhythm in the cage and completes a series of drills necessary before he sees game action, it could be as long as two weeks.
Choo feels even more pain not being able to contribute to a team fighting for a playoff spot.
"That's the worst part," Choo said, "not being able to play, just sitting in the dugout."
Choo has played in just 84 games this season. He missed nearly seven weeks after a pitch by San Francisco's Jonathan Sanchez shattered his left thumb on June 25. He's batting .260 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs.