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Park Chan-ho Returns to Los Angeles Dodgers

Posted November. 09, 2007 07:50,   


Korean baseball star Park Chan-ho will make a comeback with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he first began his Major League career. He said in his weblog (chanhopark61.com) entry on Thursday, “I will be returning to the Dodgers, the place where my Major League dream began 13 years ago.” He also remarked that the terms of his contract are similar to those given to rookies.

With his return, the 34-year-old baseball player is likely to participate in next February’s spring camp as a non-roster invitee. He seems to be aiming for a Major League roster spot while honing his craft in the minors, just as he did with the Houston Astros.

The Dodgers came in fourth in the National League Western Division this season with 82 wins and 80 losses. It failed to make it to the postseason. Thanks to the disappointing performances, the Dodgers has hired former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, the winningest manager in postseason history, to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday.

Park must beat out formidable Dodger pitching competition, including Brad Penny (16-4), Chad Billingsley (12-5), Derek Lowe (12-14), Randy Wolf (9-6) and Esteban Loaiza (2-4) for a roster spot.

Park first joined the team in 1994 with a 1.2 million dollar contract when he was still a student at Hanyang University. After two years in the minors, he scored his first victory as a relief pitcher in an away match against the Chicago Cubs on April 7, 1996, and went 80-54 until 2001. Some 70 percent of his total 113 wins (88 losses) were won while he was with the Dodgers. He had his best season with the Dodgers in 2000, when he went 18-10.

Park was granted free agency and was signed by the Texas Rangers in the winter of 2001 to a five year 65 million dollar contract, a phenomenal sum for a pitcher at that time. In the following four years, his record was 22-23. In 2005, he was traded by the Rangers to the San Diego Padres, and notched 11 wins and 10 losses the year afterward. This year, he joined the New York Mets and recorded one loss and a 15.75 ERA. When he was traded to the Houston Astros in the middle of the season, he was kept in their minor league system.

Park was selected as captain for the South Korean Olympic baseball team, which is getting ready to start preliminary round play. Fans are looking forward to tracking Park’s performance in his comeback attempt now that he back “home” with the Dodgers.