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Long-time minor leaguer makes MLB roster for 1st time

All Headlines 17:39 April 03, 2016

SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- Choi Ji-man, a long-time minor leaguer from South Korea, has made the big league roster for the first time.

The Los Angeles Angels gave the 24-year-old a spot on their 25-man roster after their 8-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Saturday's preseason game. The Angels will open their 2016 regular season Monday against the Chicago Cubs.

Choi, who joined the Seattle Mariners system out of a Korean high school in 2010, signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles in November, but the Angels later claimed him in the Rule 5 Draft in December.

The Angels had to keep Choi on their 25-man roster or offer him back to the Orioles for US$25,000.

Choi batted .212/.316/.333 in spring training with two home runs, 11 RBIs and 10 walks. The second of those homers came Saturday against the Dodgers. He and C.J. Cron are expected to split first baseman duties, while veteran Albert Pujols serves as the designated hitter.

Choi gives the Angels a much-needed left-handed bat off the bench, and he can also play some left field.

"Choi has shown a little bit of versatility," Angels' manager Mike Scioscia told MLB.com. "He's definitely shown that he can handle first base. I think with our first-base depth chart, there's no doubt there's a need there."

Choi has played 335 games in the minors but has appeared in just 97 games over the past two seasons. In 2014, he served a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance. In March last year, he broke his right fibula during spring training and didn't come back until mid-August.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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