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Twins' Park Byung-ho proves good in spring training

Posted February. 27, 2017 07:10,   

Updated February. 27, 2017 07:21

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Twins' Park Byung-ho proves good in spring training
Whenever the ball hit the bat, it was homer. The only problem was that the ball seldom hit the bat. Consequently, the report card was poor with 0.191 in batting average, 12 homers and 24 RBIs.

Having shown poor performance in the first year in the major league, Park Byung-ho (aged 31, Minnesota Twins) has surely changed. With only two exhibition games, Park was described as a “hot player” in the official major league website.

In an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida, first baseman clean-up hitter Park slammed a home run. Coming up to batter’s box as a lead-off man in the top of the second innings when his team was losing 0-2, Park belted a 2-2 pitch from Boston lefty starter Roenis Elias for a home run that flew well over the fence.

With the bases loaded with one outs in the top of the third inning at 2-2, Park added a sacrifice fly against right-handed Tyler Thornburg. Having recorded 2-for-2 at the match against Boston on Saturday, Park appears to be in the top form by making three for four (one homer) with two RBIs and one run scored.

To Park, this spring training camp is like a jungle where the struggle for survival is taking place. Due to poor performance he showed last year, he was excluded in the roster of 40 players early this month. Having accepted to go to a minor league, Park is in the camp as an invited player. If he fails to show remarkable performance, he is highly likely to finish this season in the minor league.

“I feel at ease,” said Park. He seems to want to prove only what he has, emptying his minds. “He seems to be technically same as last year. The only difference seems to be his attitude,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said.

The biggest difference is how Park copes with fast balls. Having hard time in responding to balls over 150 kilometers per hour last year, Park made all three hits in two exhibition games by targeting at fast balls this year. It was impressive when he grounded out to third at the third batter’s box against right-handed Joe Kelly. “Park would have swung and missed last year," said Song Jae-woo, sports commentator of MBC Sports+. "On Sunday, however, he didn’t yield at all even his team was at a distinct disadvantage.”



Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com