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(LEAD) Orioles' Kim Hyun-soo ends drought, picks up first U.S. hit, RBI

All News 08:38 March 11, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS details, comments throughout)

SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) -- Baltimore Orioles outfielder Kim Hyun-soo ended a long drought at the plate to pick up his first U.S. hit and RBI in preseason action Thursday.

Kim snapped out of a 0-for-23 funk with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the seventh against the New York Yankees left-hander James Pazos in Sarasota, Florida.

Kim's RBI made it 4-2 Yankees, and the O's scored two more runs in the same inning to draw the game even. It ended in a 4-4 tie.

Kim ended the day 1-for-3 with an RBI, and he was also hit by a pitch in the fourth. He was the last player with 20 or more at-bats in preseason to get a hit.

Kim batted sixth and served as the designated hitter. He had played left field in his previous seven games.

Kim told the Baltimore Sun that "(I was) a little bit relieved for all the things I've been going through," and he feels he has more to show.

"I don't think today was my best," Kim said. "I still have a lot of room to show my abilities. I'm trying to look out for more."

Manager Buck Showalter said the whole team was pulling for Kim. Showalter also offered a comparison to Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Kang Jung-ho, who last year became the first South Korean position player to jump from the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) to the majors.

Kang hit a home run in his first spring game but suffered through a 1-for-24 slide from March 5-27. He also had a sluggish start to the regular season but ended up third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting after finishing with a .287/.355/.461 line and 15 home runs.

"I was talking to somebody with the Pirates, talking about Kang, how slow he started for them last spring," Showalter said. "You need to keep it in mind, think about all the adjustments he's going through."

Kim, 28, signed a two-year deal with the Orioles in December after an All-Star career with the Doosan Bears in the Korea Baseball Organization. Kim has a lifetime batting average of .318, second-highest among all active players with at least 3,000 plate appearances. He has a career on-base percentage of .406, with 597 walks against 501 strikeouts in 1,131 career games.

Dubbed the "Hitting Machine" back home, Kim is expected to fill the Orioles' void on the left side of the plate.

Elsewhere, three other South Koreans in their first spring training -- Minnesota Twins' Park Byung-ho, St. Louis Cardinals' Oh Seung-hwan and Seattle Mariners' Lee Dae-ho -- didn't see any action Thursday.


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