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(Asian Games) Ex-big leaguer feels no pressure ahead of Asian Games

All Headlines 19:41 August 19, 2018

SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Yonhap) -- Former big leaguer Park Byung-ho, one of the most feared sluggers in South Korean baseball, said Sunday he feels zero pressure ahead of the Asian Games in Jakarta.

After a largely unsuccessful two-year stint with the Minnesota Twins, Park rejoined his old Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club Nexen Heroes for this season. And the two-time league MVP picked up where he left off, blasting 33 homers and knocking in 91 runs in just 88 games.

He's tied for second in homers with Kim Jae-hwan of the Doosan Bears, despite having played 23 fewer games.

Park has put early season injury woes behind him and has slugged his way onto the national team for the Asian Games, where South Korea will try to win its third straight gold. Park is a no-brainer for the team's cleanup hitter.

And that role suits Park just fine.

"I feel a sense of responsibility, but there's no pressure," Park said after the national team practice at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. "I am sure all other players on the team feel the same way.

As the middle-of-the-lineup threat, Park will be expected to hit a few balls out of the park once the baseball competition begins Aug. 26. But he said he'll first have to figure out unfamiliar pitchers before he can start swinging for the fences.

"Homers would be nice, but I first have to make sure I put some good swings on balls from new pitchers," Park said. "I don't think our opponents will be all weak. I am sure they have some good players there, too."

South Korean first baseman Park Byung-ho prepares for batting practice at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Aug. 19, 2018, ahead of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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