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Korean Hitter Seeing Surge in U.S. Major League

Posted September. 08, 2008 08:27,   


A Korean baseball player with the Cleveland Indians is going "choo choo" like a train in hitting.

Right fielder Choo Shin-soo went two for three Saturday and scored a run in a 3-1 away loss to the Kansas City Royals. He extended his multi-hit streak (two or more hits in a game) to three games and his overall hitting streak to 10 games.

His on-base percentage has been 100 percent over his last 26 games and his batting average is .296.

Elbow surgery kept Choo out for a while, so his recent performance is quite surprising. Since the All-Star Game, he is leading his team in batting average (.328) and has hit six homeruns (third on the team) and scored 27 runs (fourth).

Choo first went to the United States in 2000, but did not make the majors until 2005 after signing with the Seattle Mariners. In his first year at Seattle, he hit just .056 by getting just one hit in 18 at-bats over 10 games. His teammate Ichiro Suzuki was so good, the team gave little playing time to Choo.

Traded to Cleveland in 2006, Choo raised his batting average to .295. The Indians, however, filled the lineup with veterans and sent him to the minors again. Choo had played in 65 games in the majors over the three seasons prior to this year.

This year, however, Choo has played in 75 games and has gone up to bat 247 times, hitting nine homers and 45 RBIs.

With one more RBI, he can match Choi Hee-seop’s 2004 mark, the highest for a Korean player in the U.S. majors. In 2004, Choi played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Florida Marlins over 126 games, hitting 15 homers at 343 times at bat.

Joining Cleveland in June, Choo hit five home runs and 17 RBI in August alone while hitting .317.