SEOUL, April 05 (Yonhap) — South Korean infielder Kim Ha-seong of the San Diego Padres went deep for the first time in spring training, while fellow Pittsburgh Pirates , Park Hoy-jun, extended his hitting streak to six games.
The only other South Korean hitter among the greats, Choi Ji-man of the Tampa Bay Rays, continues to be cold at home plate.
Kim hit a three-run home run against Texas Rangers DJ McCarty in the top of the third inning of the teams spring training game at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Ariz., Monday (local time).
Kim had previously tripled Texas starter Dane Dunning in the second inning. Hitting eighth and playing second base, Kim went 2 for 4 with four RBIs, but also struck out two.
It was Kim’s first home run in spring training. He beats .345/.441/.586 in a dozen exhibition games
Kelvin Melean replaced Kim at second base to start the bottom of the eighth.
Kim, a former Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) All-Star, is in his second season with the Padres. Primarily a shortstop in Korea, Kim split his first major league campaign at shortstop, third base, and second base.
With regular shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. out for about three months with a wrist injury, Kim is expected to get the bulk of playing time at shortstop, although top prospect CJ Abrams has also been making noise during camp.
Kim batted just .202/.270/.352 with eight homers in 117 games last year, a far cry from the power numbers he regularly posted in the KBO.
For the Pirates, Park went 1 for 3 with a walk and run against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida.
Park, who started at second base and hit at seventh, has now hit safely in six straight games and in seven of his eight games so far in camp.
With a .304/.360/.609 line and a few homers, the 25-year-old is trying to crack the Pirates’ opening day roster after joining the team last summer in a trade from the New York Yankees. York.
Park has managed even more positions than Kim, with games at second base, third base and all three outfield positions in 2021.
Of the trio of South Korean position players, Choi has perhaps the most job security, as the 30-year-old enters his fourth full season with the Rays as first baseman.
But he also has the worst spring training in the peloton. On Monday, he went 0 for 2 with a walk against the Atlanta Braves at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Choi went 1 for 15 with five strikeouts, though his eight walks gave him a solid .375 on-base percentage.