Hee Seop Choi: Swinging Man

Orioles beat the Dodgers 4-3 in Vero Beach today, with Chris Gomez going 4-for-4 and Dan Cabrera having another strong outing (5 IP, 2 R, 2 H). Our old, ahem, friend Scott Erickson started for the Dodgers and gave up eight hits but just one unearned run in five innings of his own, strengthening his case to win the fifth spot in the LA rotation. Best of luck to him.

I found this interesting, though (taken from the AP recap):

One of the two hits off (Cabrera) was a solo homer by Hee-Seop Choi in the fifth.

Choi has looked much more aggressive at the plate in recent days, something he's been working on.

``Last week, I think too much,'' Choi said. ``I told (hitting coach) Tim Wallach I thought it was a big problem, but he said it was a little problem. I worked on timing and rhythm.''

Choi has frustrated Dodgers coaches, trying for walks instead of swinging more often.

``I like walks, but I want to swing now,'' Choi said. ``Last week, I was thinking `Ball, strike.' This week, I think, `Swing, swing, swing.' I like to swing.''

Now, the hilarity of Hee Seop's statement is great and all, but this is a guy whose value is largely dependent upon him walking and getting on base. He's never going to hit .300. Hell, he might never hit .270 over a full season.

Tim Wallach (a good ballplayer to be sure, but one with a career OBP of .316) may see things differently, but taking away Choi's patience is sort of just taking Choi out of the lineup. Not that I care, and not that I can't see the potential value in Choi swinging (in a different park besides Dodger Stadium anyway) and retaining his eye, but it just seems more likely to screw him up than not.

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