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Choo Shin-soo May be the Next Big Star

Posted March. 09, 2005 22:37,   


Choo Shin-soo’s bat is on fire. A 23-year-old prominent Korean rookie with the Seattle Mariners, Choo finished 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs in the spring training game against the Milwaukee Brewers at the Peoria Sports Complex in Arizona on March 9. Choo played a pivotal role this day for his team’s comeback 8-4 victory.

Choo came to the plate with two outs and runners on first and second in the 6th inning when the Mariners were trailing the Brewers 3-0. He doubled to the center, bringing home the runners. Later in the 8th, the Brewers were still leading 4-2 when Choo was at the plate again with no out and runners on first and second. This time, Choo singled and later scored the fifth run that gave his team the lead.

The Mariners’ manager Mike Hargrove takes great care of Choo. When Choo, who homered in two consecutive games the day before, told Hargrove about a pain in his left elbow, Hargrove made Choo a designated hitter and placed him 5th in the lineup so that he could maintain his batting ability. Hargrove also kept Choo in Peoria, home to the Mariners’ spring training, along with Ichiro Suzuki and Richie Sexon for the split squad on March 9.

So far, Choo has scored 2 RBIs in three straight games and is 3-for-7 with 6 RBIs after four spring training games he has batted in.

Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Choi Hee-sub of the LA Dodgers, the first Korean batter to join the MLB, batted 7th in line and played first base in a spring training game against the Florida Marlins, but finished 0-for-2.

Forty two-year-old Randy Johnson, on the other hand, did not pitch impressively during his first game in the Yankees uniform. Johnson was the starting pitcher against the Atlanta Braves and allowed a two-run homerun to Chipper Jones in the first inning. Johnson also allowed two singles, a walk, and two runs in two innings, finishing with only two strikeouts. Chipper Jones, a strong batter against Johnson, hits 0.370 with 6 homeruns against the new pitcher for the Yankees.

Finally, Park Chan-ho of the Texas Rangers, 32, will be up against the Chicago Cubs ace Kerry Wood on March 10. Park did not make a good start this year, allowing five hits and three runs in two innings on his spring training debut.

Hwan Soo Zang zangpabo@donga.com