Rangers choose Choice; is top draft pick ready for the Majors?

Michael Choice

Credit: WFAA

Michael Choice played high school ball at Mansfield Timberview High School, then attended UT-Arlington.

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 2:28 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 2:43 AM

It's too early to determine winners and losers in the trade that included Craig Gentry and Michael Choice, but there is one sure winner.

"I couldn't calm my dad down yesterday," said Choice, the new Rangers outfielder. "It was kind of ironic because yesterday was his birthday, so it's like a birthday gift for him."

Choice played his high school ball at Mansfield Timberview, then went to UT-Arlington. Choice left after his junior season and was picked 10th overall in 2010, and he ended his college career with a streak of 72 games in a row reaching base safely.

He smiled when asked to remember his first game that he didn't reach base.

"I don't know," he said, trying to remember. "I have to say probably my first professional game, actually; it was a rough one."

Choice made his major league debut with the A's in September, and hit .278 in nine games. His first big league hit was in a game against the Texas Rangers on September 3.

The question is whether he's ready to be in the big leagues full-time.

"I think some of it depends on what we do the rest of the winter," said Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. "Whether we add a guy who's going to be a definite starter; whether we add a guy who's going to be a time-share, platoon situation; or whether we just go with the group we've got."

"I feel like I've progressed as a player enough to say that I'm ready to play in the big leagues every day," Choice said. "And then being up in September and experiencing it, I know I can play at that level."

The trade seems like a no-brainer for the Rangers. They get a former first-round pick, and in Choice's three years in the minor leagues, he's looked like a good pick. But Daniels said that calling the trade a "no-brainer" diminishes Craig Gentry's value.

"He is a specialist in some regards, but he's probably like the number-one guy at what he does in the game," Daniels said.

Choice's return to North Texas is a good story of a guy coming home to play for the team he watched when he was a kid... but that happens only if he makes the team.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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