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Korea's first Yankees batter Choi Ji-man debuts with home run

Korea's first Yankees batter Choi Ji-man debuts with home run

Posted July. 07, 2017 07:10,   

Updated July. 07, 2017 07:35

Korean batter Choi Ji-man recorded a home run at his very first game as the first Korea's first player to wear a "pinstriped" New York Yankees uniform. What's more, it was a mega home run that flew nearly 140 meters and nailed on the right upper stand.

Choi made his Major League debut as the seventh batter and first-base catcher at a home game against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Yankee Stadium in New York on Wednesday. Grounded out by the first-base man at the first batter's box in the third inning, he struck the ball far behind the middle-right post by hitting the second fast ball thrown at 146 km/h by starting pitcher Marco Estrada in the bottom of the fifth inning with one out and one on the first base when his team was losing 2-5. The mega homer stretched to a whopping 139 meters at a driving distance.

Choi commented after the match, "It doesn't matter how far the ball flew, as long as it crosses the fence," but others took a different point of view. In particular, the home run astonished Yankees slugger Aron Judge who also hit his 29th league-leading home run who said, "You see how far he hit that ball?” While the first half of the league is yet to be finished, Judge became a promising slugger who already tied with Joe DiMaggio's 1936 home run record - the legendary player who currently holds the highest number of home runs as a Yankees rookie. Despite the home runs hit by both players, Yankees lost to Blue Jays 6-7. Many predict that Choi will secure his starting position on the first base thanks to a remarkable impression he made at his first match.

On the same day, San Francisco Giants infielder Hwang Jae-gyun also started the game as the fifth batter on the third-base at an away game with the Detroit Tigers, recording four hits, one single, and one point. In addition to his batting skills, Hwang showed an impressive defense and did his part for the team, which won 5-4.

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com