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Orioles' Kim Hyun-soo eager to make big league debut

All Headlines 13:45 April 08, 2016

BALTIMORE, Maryland, April 7 (Yonhap) -- Three games into the 2016 Major League Baseball (MLB) season, Kim Hyun-soo of the Baltimore Orioles has yet to get off the bench.

And when he does, Kim said he wants to show he belongs.

"I want to be as well prepared as I can be for my first game, so that I can have a good performance," Kim told Yonhap News Agency on Thursday after the Orioles defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-2 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. "To show that I am ready to play, I just have to prepare hard for that opportunity."

Kim, who signed a two-year, US$7 million contract with the Orioles in December, has had an adventurous spring. He was expected to serve as the starting outfielder who'd provide offense and a high on-base percentage from the left side of the plate, but Kim suffered through a miserable spring training, batting just .178 with no extra-base hits. The management pressured him to go down to Triple-A, but Kim declined an assignment to the minors, as was his right in his contract, and forced the Orioles' hand.

They kept him on their 25-man roster -- their only other option was to release him and eat up his salary -- but Joey Rickard and Nolan Reimold, who outperformed Kim in spring, have shared left field duties so far.

Manager Buck Showalter has said, however, he wants to get all his players in a game before the six-game home stand comes to an end on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Kim said he hasn't heard anything specific from the manager about his appearance.

With Kim watching, Rickard and Reimold are off to strong starts. Rickard, who started in center field Thursday, hit a solo home run in the eighth inning for his first big league homer. Rickard, a career minor leaguer and a Rule 5 pick by the Orioles has played in all three games so far and is batting 5-for-11.

Reimold made his season debut Thursday as the No. 2 hitter playing left and went 2-for-4. He was one of 11 players used in left field by Showalter last season.

In the opposite dugout at Camden Yards, Park Byung-ho of the Twins sat out for the first time this season. The South Korean designated hitter got his first big league hit in his first game Monday but went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts Wednesday.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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