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(LEAD) Wrist surgery to end Park Byung-ho's 1st MLB season

All Headlines 16:00 August 25, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 15-16)

SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Yonhap) -- Park Byung-ho of the Minnesota Twins will end his first season in Major League Baseball (MLB) early, as he needs to undergo surgery on his wrist, the U.S. media reported.

Twins manager Paul Molitor told reporters at Target Field in Minneapolis on Wednesday (local time) that Park will undergo the surgery on his right wrist on Thursday, according to Minnesota-based Pioneer Press and MLB.com.

Molitor said Park will be going under the knife to repair a subluxation of the tendon in the back of his hand. This injury is in a different part of the wrist from a prior injury Park had. The South Korean slugger was previously diagnosed with tendinitis in his right wrist.

The surgery will force Park to wrap up his MLB debut season early. The 30-year-old is expected to spend one month recovering in the Twin Cities before returning home to Korea.

Park, a two-time Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) MVP, struggled with his first taste of the majors, hitting .191/.275/.409 with 12 home runs and 24 RBIs over 62 games with the Twins before he was demoted to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings in July.

In the minors, he hit .224/.297/.526 with 10 home runs and 19 RBIs over 31 games.

Park, who is the first KBO player to lead the league in home runs and RBIs for four consecutive seasons, said he learned a lot from his first MLB season. He lamented that the injury has been bothering him throughout parts of the year and got worse when he was sent down to the minors.

"It was a huge experience, a huge learning experience," Park was quoted by the Pioneer Press as telling reporters through his interpreter. "I'll take the doctors' and trainers' advice and do the best I can to come back healthy."

Park, who can play first base and designated hitter, joined the Twins from the South Korean club Nexen Heroes via posting. He is signed through 2019 on a 4-year, $12 million contract with a $6.5 million option for the 2020 season.

South Koreans in MLB are having an injury-plagued 2016 season.

Texas Rangers outfielder Choo Shin-soo suffered a broken left forearm after he was hit by pitch on Aug. 15. The veteran leadoff hitter underwent surgery two days after the incident, but he is not expected to return before the end of the regular season.

After missing last season because of surgery on his left labrum, Los Angeles Dodgers' starter Ryu Hyun-jin will also miss the remainder of this season. The left-hander has not picked up a baseball since the middle of July because of tendinitis in his left elbow and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said last week he doesn't expect the South Korean to pitch for the team again this season.

Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Kang Jung-ho was put on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday because of a left shoulder injury. The 29-year-old was injured while sliding headfirst into second base in the eighth inning of the Pirates' 6-5 loss to the Miami Marlins on Friday. He is expected to sit out at least two weeks.

This only leaves Baltimore Orioles outfielder Kim Hyun-soo and St. Louis Cardinals closer Oh Seung-hwan seeing big league action.

Kim went 2-for-6 and scored two runs in the Orioles' 10-8 win over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, while Oh tossed a perfect inning to wrap up the Cardinals' 8-1 victory against the New York Mets.

Lee Dae-ho of the Seattle Mariners has been playing with their Triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers, since last Friday. The South Korean first baseman went to the minors after he hit just .109 with one home run and four RBIs in his last 20 games. On Wednesday, he went 3-for-5 with an RBI against the Reno Aces.

Choi Ji-man of the Los Angeles Angels was sent down to the Angels' Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake City on Sunday. The 25-year-old, who has played both first base and outfield, hit only .167/.265/.353 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in 43 games.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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