Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has a bad shoulder, having left camp earlier this week to get a cortisone shot in his left shoulder.
The official line from the Rangers is that this is no big deal, and Choo may be back in the lineup as the DH this weekend, but this is something worth keeping an eye on. Choo turns 37 in July, and has dealt with physical issues throughout his time with the Rangers, particularly in 2014 (when he was slowed by back issues) and in 2016 (when he appeared in just 48 games).
Choo’s back issues have been a perpetual cause for concern, as back problems tend to be chronic and can end careers, but the fact that he is needing a cortisone shot for his shoulder at the start of camp would seem to be a big red flag. USA Today had a piece a few years ago about the increasing use of cortisone shots among MLB players, and the potential long-term effects it can have. Its also something that cannot be administered regularly — there should be several months between injections, so if the injection works just in the short term, but not after a few weeks, you can’t just go and get another one.
We thought back in 2016 that a cortisone shot for Josh Hamilton would fix his knee issues, though they didn’t, and Brad Wilkerson went the cortisone shot route repeatedly for the shoulder issues that derailed a very promising career. This isn’t to say that Choo is doomed to be finished (as Hamilton, as it turned out, was), or that he’s going to struggled to stay on the field and be productive (as was the case with Wilkerson) due to him getting a cortisone shot — but it is something to be cognizant of, and keep an eye on, going forward.