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The “Submariner” Surfaces Once Again

Posted September. 22, 2004 22:00,   


“BK” Kim Byung-hyun (25, Boston Red Sox, photo) returned to the Major Leagues. This time he won’t be starting. He will be used as a relief pitcher.

On September 22, the Red Sox put Kim Byung-hyun on the team’s major league roster. It was the first time Kim Byung-hyun made the roster in four months since being demoted to Triple A on May 12.

Kim Byung-hyun, who signed a two-year, $10 million contract during the hot stove season last winter, started the season with one win and one loss and an ERA of 6.17. His sluggish performance was the reason why he was sent to the minor leagues.

Later, he came back to Korea during the season to treat his shoulder injury and also to get some rest. However, after his return to the Pawtucket Red Sox, he recorded two wins, six losses, and an ERA of 5.34.

However, even after the minor league seasons were over on September 7, the Red Sox called up Kim Byung-hyun to come to Yankees Stadium where he was tested in the bullpen last week when Boston began a three-game road trip to New York.

After the coaching staff saw Kim Byung-hyun’s powerful pitching in the bullpen, they decided on Kim Byung-hyun’s return to the major leagues. Manager Terry Francona said, “His pitches that he threw had the most powerful punch I’ve seen from him this year. I’ll have to see how he does (in the major leagues).”

Manager Francona plans to use Kim Byung-hyun as a relief pitcher. He won’t be finishing the game, but will be a set-up pitcher like Scott Williamson.

With only 13 days left before the end of the season, Kim Byung-hyun might be able to pitch during the postseason if one of Boston’s pitchers gets injured.

Also, if he is able to finish next season as a full time major leaguer, he might even be able to acquire free agent (FA) status. Until September 21, Kim Byung-hyun had pitched 168 days during his four-season (one season=172 days) career in the majors. Until now, he would have been four days short of acquiring FA status, even if he were to pitch next season full-time.

Kim Byung-hyun did not appear in the September 22 game against the Baltimore Orioles, in which Boston won the game 3-2. With only 12 games left, Boston (90 wins, 60 losses) is second in the American League East division behind the New York Yankees (95 wins 56 losses). Boston is very likely to be the wildcard (second place team of every league in terms of their percentage of victory; the team with the highest percentage is awarded the right to enter the Division Series) team this postseason.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com