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End of Glory for Park Chan-ho?

Posted June. 05, 2007 04:57,   


Should he look for a new team? Head for Japan? Or go back to Korea to “spend the rest of his baseball career in Korea” after 14 years of playing baseball in America? Many people are interested in the future plans of Park Chan-ho (34), a senior member of the “Korean Force” who was kicked out of minor league baseball yesterday.

The Associated Press wrote on June 4, “The New York Mets released Park Chan-ho, who allowed 6 hits and 7 runs over 4 innings this season.” He left the San Diego Padres in February to sign a $600,000 contract with the Mets. However, three days after he became a losing pitcher in a match with the Florida Marlins on June 1, he was forced to go back to the minor leagues. Even with the Triple A New Orleans Zephyrs he pitched poorly, ending up with four wins and four losses and an earned-run average of 5.57 as his team’s ninth pitching option.

Park Chan-ho, who started playing in the majors in 1994, earned 113 wins (and 88 losses) in 14 seasons. He “hit the jackpot” by signing a five-year contract worth $65 million when he was traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Texas Rangers. However, due to many injuries, along with his poor performance in recent years, the Mets acquired him at a low cost.

In the meantime, some say that it was Park who asked the Mets to release him. That is because the team’s decision came a day after Park pitched very well, leading his team to victory as the team’s fourth pitching option in a match against the Anaheim Angeles’ Salt Lake Bees. In 7 and 3/2 innings, he only allowed 1 run.

As Park’s desire to stay in the majors is so strong, he may look for another team he can play for. However, some say that he may go to play in Japan, as it would be easier for him to adjust to the new environment with the help of his Korean-Japanese wife. The possibility of Park coming back to Korea cannot be ruled out, either. Song Gyu-soo, the chief of the Hanwha team that drafted Park, said, “We won’t do anything for the time being because we don’t want to provoke him. We will just wait and see what decision he will make.”