Ji-Man Choi was on his way to rejoin the Angels before he knew why. His manager with the Angels’ triple-A Salt Lake affiliate, Keith Johnson, pulled him from the Bees’ game Friday night with one instruction: Pack your bags.
On his way to the airport, he heard C.J. Cron broke his hand, and then he understood: He would be receiving the chance the Angels could not offer earlier in the year. Choi broke camp on the team’s 25-man roster, but as a reserve, and he batted only 24 times in five weeks.
They designated him for assignment and he cleared waivers, afterward accepting an assignment to triple A, where he played daily and hit .327 with a .411 on-base percentage and .485 slugging mark.
Cron had emerged as the Angels’ hottest hitter this month. After two streaky and, overall, average seasons, he had allowed the team to again dream on his future. Choi does not offer the power potential, but he has demonstrated patience at the plate.
“C.J. Cron has been performing very well,” Choi said Saturday, via interpreter Danny Lee, “so I want to make sure the Angels don’t feel his absence by playing well enough as he did.”
Choi has heard nothing from the team about how much he might play, but he expects to do so far more than in his first stint. They plan to have him split time with Jefry Marte, another 25-year-old with a strong minor league track record and limited major league success.
“The baseball is always the same,” Choi said. “Minor leagues, big leagues, the baseball is always the same.”
Catcher Jett Bandy did not know he had outlasted Carlos Perez in the battle to remain on the Angels roster until he boarded a bus bound for the ballpark from the team’s hotel Saturday morning. He noticed then that Perez was nowhere to be found. It had been anticipated for weeks the Angels would have to send one man down for Geovany Soto. … Scioscia declined to reveal his planned rotation to start the second half of the season. After the four-day All-Star break, the Angels resume at home Friday and play 16 games in 17 days. … The Angels promoted their first-round draft pick, Matt Thaiss, from rookie-league Orem to Class-A Burlington on Saturday. A college catcher, Thaiss has exclusively played first base since he signed last month.