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Choo Wishes to Play for Korea in 2010 Asiad

Posted November. 05, 2009 08:02,   


Cleveland Indians outfielder Choo Shin-soo said yesterday that he wants to play for the national team at next year’s Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

“I had a good experience and memories at the World Baseball Classic in March, so I’d like to play for the national team again if I’m qualified,” he told a news conference in southern Seoul a day after arriving in Seoul. “I’m talking with the Cleveland Indians about this.”

If he joins the national squad and wins a gold medal, he can gain exemption from military service required of all able-bodied Korean men.

Choo also praised the quality of Korean baseball, saying Korean players made few errors throughout the March tournament, in which Korea finished second to Japan. While American baseball is powerful, it is “not so exquisite,” he added.

On his most difficult time this year, he said it was when he heard of the death of his mentor and high school manager Cho Sung-ok, who died of liver cancer in July. He called Cho a “father figure.”

Choo also recalled feeling pressure when he was just a homer away from joining the 20-20 club, or getting 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season.

His most memorable game of this season, he said, was against the Oakland Athletics July 4. In that game, he went 4-5 with two homers and seven RBIs.

Choo, 26, said he had his best performance this year because of the confidence he built up from late last season. He thanked his coaching staff for remaining confident in him even when he suffered from a slump.

Making his U.S. Major League debut in 2005, he finished with a season hitting average of .300 with 20 homer, 21 stolen bases, and 86 RBIs this season.

“I think I have room to improve,” he said. “I had a lot of RBIs because many hitters before me got on base.”

On his goal for next season, he simply said, “I want to perform better than this year.”

Choo also commented on his contract for next season, saying he will likely need to sign a new one around December. “Contract terms are important but I have a stronger wish to play for one team for a long time,” he said.