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Brewers' Choi Ji-man blasts grand slam in spring training

All Headlines 08:34 March 13, 2018

SEOUL, March 13 (Yonhap) -- Milwaukee Brewers' South Korean player Choi Ji-man has gone deep for the second time in spring training.

With his team trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 in the top of the sixth, the first baseman/outfielder launched a grand slam off Malcom Culver at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, on Monday (local time) for a 5-3 lead. The Brewers went on to win the game 7-6.

This was Choi's second long ball of spring training. The first had come on Feb. 25. Prior to Monday, Choi had been slashing .381/.517/.714 in 13 games.

In this Associated Press file photo taken March 8, 2018, Choi Ji-man of the Milwaukee Brewers gets a hit against the Arizona Diamondbacks during their spring training game at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix. (Yonhap)

Choi came off the bench in the fifth inning and got a pinch-hit single in the fifth. He then delivered the big home run in his next at-bat and finished the game 2-for-2 with two runs scored and four RBIs.

Choi, 26, is trying to win a backup first base job behind Eric Thames, a former MVP in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) who belted 31 homers in 2017. When Choi first signed, only Jesus Aguilar, who made 52 starts at first base to back Thames last year, was standing in his way. But after the Brewers acquired outfielders Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain during the offseason, Ryan Braun, the 2011 National League MVP as left fielder, has been getting some reps at first base in spring training.

Choi, who has also played some left field in his career, is a non-roster invitee in his third different camp in three seasons. A longtime minor leaguer in the Seattle Mariners system, Choi made his major league debut with the Los Angeles Angels in 2016. He played in six games for the New York Yankees last year and signed as a free agent with the Brewers in January this year.

He has a career batting average of .181 in 60 big league games, with seven home runs and 17 RBIs. In Triple-A last year, Choi batted .288 with 15 home runs and 69 RBIs in 87 games.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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