The answers come only after long, sometimes painful, pauses.

That’s because Shin-Soo Choo is as lost trying to describe what’s happened to him at the plate this year as he is at trying to actually fix what has happened to him at the plate.

“This has been going on two months,” Choo said after going hitless in four at-bats in the Rangers’ 4-1 loss to Toronto on Saturday. “Two months. It feels almost like nine years. I’m not frustrated by the numbers. I’m frustrated because nothing is getting better. I feel great. I practice good. I feel great
getting into the batters box, and then ...”

Another long pause.

“Nothing happens.”

On Saturday that was the case again. His 0 for 4 day extended his current hitless streak to 21 at-bats, the longest of his career. He managed two weak grounders to the right side and he took a pair of called third strikes. His batting average dropped to .236 for the year, nearly 50 points lower than his career average entering the season. And on top of that, he’s not supplementing his on-base percentage with walks. He’s taken just one in that 20 at-bat stretch.

Manager Ron Washington feels Choo’s pain. Before Friday’s second-half opener, he called the outfielder into his office to ask first about the ankle that has bothered him most of the year. Choo assured him the sore ankle is as good as it has been since he sprained it in late April.

Choo, however, will sit out Sunday’s game on Toronto’s artificial turf as a precaution. There is little doubt among Rangers management that no matter how hard Choo works to convince them his ankle is OK, it’s really not.

Washington, who believes Choo has pressed too hard to live up to the $130 million, seven-year contract he was given last winter, then tried to deliver a little sports psychology. The short version of the message is the same as what he’s delivered to the team: Don’t worry about rescuing the season; focus on simply getting better.