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Park goes hitless, Oh tosses 1 perfect inning in MLB preseason debuts

All News 08:34 March 03, 2016

SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) - The Minnesota Twins' Park Byung-ho struck out three times in three at-bats in his first preseason appearance in Major League Baseball (MLB) in Florida on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in the Sunshine State, St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Oh Seung-hwan, another South Korean readying for his first big league season, tossed one perfect inning in his U.S. debut.

Park, who joined the Twins via posting in December, made his first start for the Twins as a designated hitter batting sixth against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers. The two-time MVP in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) left six men on base as he struck out three times on nine pitches.

Park went up with the bases loaded with two outs in the top first but struck out swinging on three pitches against Henry Owens.

In the third, Park had men at first and second with two outs, but again went down on three pitches, this time against Noe Ramirez. Then facing Brian Johnson in the fifth, Park struck out looking with a man at first and one out.

Park was lifted for Adam Walker in the top seventh. The Twins won 7-4.

The South Korean slugger hit 52 and 53 home runs over the past two seasons, and is expected to take over as the Twins' primary DH and spell veteran Joe Mauer at first.

In Jupiter against Florida Atlantic University, Oh threw a three-up, three-down inning in the third, after relieving starter Austin Gomber.

The 33-year-old right-hander struck out the final batter of the inning before handing things over to Daniel Poncedeleon. The Cardinals prevailed 13-6.

Oh, who signed with the Cards in January, is the all-time leader in saves in the KBO with 277 in nine seasons, and recorded 80 more saves in two seasons in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). With the Cardinals, he's expected to serve as a setup man for All-Star closer Trevor Rosenthal.

In other preseason action, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Kim Hyun-soo went 0-for-3 at the plate for the second consecutive day. The former KBO All-Star, who signed with the O's in December, made his second straight start in left field against the Atlanta Braves. He grounded out to third in the first, flied out to right in the third and grounded out to first in the fifth.

He was lifted for Xavier Avery in left in the sixth, and the Orioles lost 11-4.

Park, Oh and Kim are three of the four South Koreans who signed with an MLB club this offseason. The fourth, infielder Lee Dae-ho, agreed to a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners last month and had an invitation to spring training. He's trying to win a spot on the 25-man roster but is not allowed to enter preseason games because he doesn't have his work permit yet.

Choi Ji-man of the Los Angeles Angels, a minor league prospect hoping to make his big league debut this year, had a base hit against the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale, Arizona. Formerly in the Mariners' system, Choi signed with the Orioles in the offseason, but the Angels selected him in the Rule 5 Draft. They either have to keep Choi on their 25-man roster or ship him back to the Orioles for cash.

In that same game, the Giants' South Korean prospect, Lee Hak-ju, struck out in his pinch-hit appearance in the seventh. Lee had an invitation to spring training, and he too is trying to make his MLB debut.


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