CLEVELAND -- Shin-Soo Choo stepped out of character on Opening Day on Thursday, rushing to his feet and threatening to charge the mound after Blue Jays reliever Luis Perez threw a pitch in the vicinity of the right fielder's head.
As Choo began walking angrily toward the mound in the 15th inning of the marathon affair at Progressive Field, both benches and bullpens emptied for a few tension-filled minutes. In the wake of Cleveland's 7-4 loss in 16 frames, Choo admitted his reaction stemmed from an unrelated incident last year.
"I had a hit by pitch last year -- a broken thumb," Choo explained. "Maybe that's the reason why I'm very sensitive right now, but it's part of the game. Pitchers need to throw inside. I understand that."
Choo had his left thumb broken by an errant pitch from former Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez, now with the Royals, on June 24 last season, costing the Indians right fielder roughly six weeks on the disabled list. Cleveland manager Manny Acta noted that Choo was brushed back a few times during this past Spring Training and the right fielder had been hit by a pitch earlier in Thursday's contest.
Acta said the Indians are not overly concerned about Choo possibly overreacting to inside pitches.
"Not at all," Acta said. "He's a tough kid. We talked to him already about that kind of stuff. People know that he can take you out to the opposite field. A lot of people are going to pitch him inside. He's going to have to live with it. He understands that. It's understandable that he's a little bit sensitive.
"He lost a lot of time last year and it was a crucial time for us, the way we were playing. He really takes pride in being on the field every day for us. I think it just goes back to what happened last year with him. He got a few of them in Spring Training, too. It's understandable
"He also knows how important he is to us. That's why he stopped and handled things well."