Indians Remain Optimistic About Choice

CLEVELAND—The Indians will bring 10 outfielders to camp, and four of them are first-round draft picks. Three of those are Lonnie Chisenhall (29th overall in the 2008 draft), Tyler Naquin (15th overall in 2012) and James Ramsey (23rd overall in 2012).

The fourth is perhaps the most intriguing.

That would be Michael Choice, who in the first round of the 2010 draft was selected 10th overall, by Oakland, ahead of Chris Sale, Christian Yelich, Noah Syndergaard, Taijuan Walker and Nick Castellanos.

While those others have established themselves at the major league level, Choice has not. The 26-year-old outfielder has already been traded twice and designated for assignment twice. In 96 career games in the majors he has hit .188.

Last August the Indians acquired Choice from the Rangers for cash considerations. In the International League playoffs he was a star. In 11 postseason games he hit .417 (15-for-36) with six doubles and three home runs. In the Governors’ Cup Finals Choice was 9-for-14 (.643), homered in three of the five games and was the MVP of the IL playoffs.

Choice was invited to training camp as a non-roster player. Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said the organization is still optimistic that Choice, who has had some big years in the minors, can eventually get over the big league hump.

“Very few players become major leaguers without experiencing some setbacks in their developmental path,” Antonetti said. “Michael has experienced adversity, but as we saw during his brief stay in Columbus, he still has the tools and skills to become an effective major league player.”

Choice will probably need a big spring to play his way onto the major league roster, but at least he’s in camp with a team that obviously needs help at his position.

“It’s important for him to commit to getting better each day and work to improve in all facets of his game,” Antonetti said.


n Righthander Tommy Hunter, who had a 4.18 ERA in 58 appearances last year with the Orioles and Cubs, was signed to a major league contract. To make room for Hunter, catcher Tony Wolters was designated for assignment.

n Righthander Craig Stammen signed a minor league contract with an invitation to the major league camp.

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