Choi Ji-man has strong start to Yankees career
Choi, who made his first appearance this season wearing the Yankees’ uniform, played as the seventh batter and first baseman. Choi recorded one hit and two runs.
After graduating from Incheon Dongsan High School, Choi left for the United States after signing with the Seattle Mariners in 2009. Then, in 2014, Choi signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles, but transferred to the Los Angeles Angels in December 2015 under the Rule 5 draft, which prevents teams from having too many young players in the minor league.
While playing for the Angels, Choi played in a total of 54 games, recording a batting average of 0.170, five home runs and 12 RBIs. Following this, Choi once again signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees and played with the Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, where he recorded a batting average of 0.289 with eight home runs and 43 RBIs. Choi got called up to the major leagues as a replacement for Chris Carter on Tuesday, becoming the second Korean baseball player, after Park Chan-ho in 2010, to wear the Yankees’ uniform.
This season Park played during the spring training exhibition games, but the Twins decided to reassign him to the minor league. Throughout the spring training exhibition games, Park recorded a batting average of 0.353 with six home runs and 13 RBIs.
“One of the reasons the Twins didn’t bring Byung Ho Park up north - after a strong camp - was to give Kenny Vargas at bats,” explains the Minnesota Star Tribune. “Vargas was to get his chance this year, and has blown it.”
Though Paul Molitor, manager of the Twins, said Park’s assignment in Triple A was temporary, he hasn’t been called up to the major leagues yet. Park had to miss a few games due to a hamstring injury at the beginning of the season but aside from that, he has recorded a batting average of 0.247 with four home runs and 25 RBIs as of Wednesday.
Despite the expectations Molitor had for Vargas, due to poor performance he is now in the Triple A alongside Park. That said, if the Twins are in need of a designated hitter, Park may be given his shot at getting promoted to the major leagues.
BY KIM WON, KANG YOO-RIM [email@example.com]