By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Yonhap) -- Former major league outfielder Daniel Palka is set for his South Korean debut, after his mandatory quarantine, following his arrival in the country, ended Wednesday.
The Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said Palka will first report to their minor league club and play a couple of tuneup games later this week. They're hoping he'll be ready to start playing in the KBO as early as Sunday.
Palka signed a US$170,000 contract on July 29 and landed in South Korea on Aug. 5. As mandated by the government for all international arrivals, Palka had to be quarantined for 14 days.
Palka was put up in a house in Cheongdo, North Gyeongsang Province, near the Lions' home city of Daegu, and the club set up a batting net and other training equipment for the new acquisition.
Palka's KBO debut couldn't come fast enough for the Lions, who have faded away from playoff contention and sit five games out of the last postseason berth at 40-44-1 (wins-losses-ties). They have been 5-8-1 in August, while batting a mediocre .259/.328/.393 as a team.
As a rookie with the Chicago White Sox in 2018, Palka swatted 27 home runs in 124 games and finished fifth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.
The following season, though, Palka only appeared in 30 games and homered only twice, while batting .107/.194/.179.
Palka performed much better in Triple-A last year, with a .263/.374/.527 line, 27 home runs, 72 RBIs and 23 doubles in 106 games.
The Lions said Palka is a great fastball hitter and should become a successful slugger in the KBO thanks to his bat speed.
The Lions are trying to qualify for their first postseason since 2015.
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