BOSTON -- Shin-Soo Choo is the first to admit that he has been a bit jumpy with inside pitches from left-handers this season, but the right fielder feels he is making progress and is beginning to find a better comfort zone in the batter's box.
"I'm getting better," Choo said. "Early in the season, I had a lot of hit by pitches and then I was a little bit afraid of inside pitches. Now, after talking to the hitting coach and talking to players, I think I was more scared for my body. I was scared on inside pitches and I'd turn too quick.
"Now, I'm hitting hard fly balls, hard ground balls against left-handed pitchers. I think it's getting better."
Choo had his left thumb fractured by an inside fastball from lefty Jonathan Sanchez last season during a game against the Giants, forcing the right fielder to miss roughly six weeks. So far this season, the lefty-hitting Choo has been hit by four pitches and he has seen a high volume of inside fastballs.
In his first 17 games of the season, Choo hit just .209 (14-for-67) and was hit by three pitches. Indians hitting coach Bruce Fields said one issue was that Choo was turning toward inside pitches while bailing out, putting the right fielder in a vulnerable position. Choo has been working on some adjustments and was hitting .281 in his past 10 games, entering Sunday.
"Early in the year, he gets nailed a couple of times," Fields said. "That's going to kind of add fuel to the fire when you're going through something like that. In talking to him about the tentativeness he was feeling, we went through the process. He wasn't taking pitches properly. He was opening up.
"When you're taking pitches and you're opening up, it's dangerous. That kind of played into it a little bit."
Choo firmly believes he has taken the steps to start correcting the problem.
"I think I'm getting better," said Choo, who was hitting .232 through 27 games for Cleveland. "I'm not getting hits, but I feel much more comfortable in the batter's box now. "