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Ryu Je-guk to Pitch for Success in the Majors

Posted February. 06, 2008 03:09,   


“I will concentrate on my performance as if this was my last chance in the majors.”

Two men run the playground of Deoksu High School in Seoul on Feb. 5.

Ryu Je-guk, pitcher for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, is training, by running, catching and pitching balls with his brother.

Although the weather was freezing below zero, beads of sweat broke out on the pitcher’s forehead. His eyes blazed with firm determination. He used to rest when he returned home after the season. But this year is different as he started training right after returning to Korea in January.

He is focused on controlling his curve balls. For him, this year’s season is his “last opportunity” to advance his career.

“I think this is the last chance for me. I will do my best this season.”

Last year, Ryu failed to perform well as he scored one win and two losses with a 7.33 earned run average. He had joined the Chicago Cubs in 2001 with the paid contract of 1.6 million dollars after graduating from high school in Korea. He confessed, “I have lost confidence and have been lazy.”

But now he is focused, deciding to return to spring training in Florida right after the Lunar New Year holiday to prepare for the major league. His resolution is to be on the 25-man Major League roster.

Ryu ran as a member of the national baseball team in the Asian Preliminaries for the Beijing Olympics last year, but he was dropped from the list of members who will participate in the Games’ Asian Continental Qualifier Baseball Competition in this coming March.

“After a successful performance in the majors, I would like to join the national team. I will show that these are not just empty words,” he said, smiling.