Indians’ Choo admits DUI affecting his game

Shin-Soo Choo says his arrest on a drunken-driving charge has

affected his play.

”I know what the problem is: I try too hard, I think too much.

I need to slow down my mind,” Choo said Sunday as he returned to

the Cleveland Indians’ lineup against Texas after getting a game

off.

Choo said he is no longer worried about the legal problems

stemming from his arrest, but is concerned with how he is regarded

in both America and his native South Korea.

I think so,” he said. ”My first country is Korea, but I’ve

lived here 11 years. This is my country, too. I have two different

countries, so I worry about more fans.

”That happened last month. So I wanted to play good in the

field, show better play and then try to make people forget.”

Choo was arrested May 2 on suspicion of drunken driving after a

breathalyzer test showed he had a blood-alcohol level of .201.

Ohio’s legal limit is .08. He apologized to each of his teammates

individually before Cleveland’s next game.

Manager Manny Acta pointed out Saturday that Choo had never had

an off-field incident before or since and that the outfielder is

learning to deal with the scrutiny that comes with a misstep. To

help ease the pressure, Acta dropped Choo three spots in the order

on Sunday to No. 6.

”It doesn’t matter to me,” Choo said. ”I’ve talked to the

skipper. I see my numbers. Third is the best hitter on the team.

I’m not right now.”

A 4-for-23 skid before getting his one-day break dropped Choo’s

average to .242 with only five homers and 22 RBIs in 54 games. He

had not homered since April 29. The past two seasons, he hit .300

and averaged 21 homers and 88 RBIs.

Choo said he is fine with hot-hitting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera

batting third as the Indians try to snap out of their first

downturn of the season that saw them lose 8 of 11 entering

Sunday.

”Cabrera is hitting really, really good from both sides, left

and right-handed,” Choo said. ”He has a lot of extra-base hits

and he gets on base a lot of times, giving you a chance to win more

games.

”We’re losing games. Everything is a little bit down, so it

doesn’t matter for me to change anything. Nine hole, eight hole. It

doesn’t matter. Making sure we’re winning is more important.”

Cabrera came in hitting .306 with 11 homers and 40 RBIs.

Choo figures that Cleveland could be even further out in front

in the AL Central if his offensive production was up to normal.

”Everybody sees it,” he said. ”I’m trying too hard. That’s

just my natural thought. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it makes

it worse. It’s given me a lot of stress.”

Choo said he’s always had a great passion for playing and is

trying to put his career into perspective. Instead of dwelling on

his problems, he said he is thankful to be playing in the

majors.

”I love it a lot, maybe too much,” Choo said. ”I’ve (listened

to) a lot this year. Not baseball things. I need to close my ears,

close my eyes. It’s not easy. There’s been a lot of stress this

year. My wife has told me not to worry about it. I told her,

‘Honey, I know, but it’s hard to do it.’ ”