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`Save King` Oh Seung-hwan sets sights for Major League

Posted November. 14, 2014 03:48,   


"I have a far bigger dream."

Oh Seung-hwan, a South Korean relief pitcher who plays for the Hanshin Tigers in the Nippon Professional Baseball, is a man who weighs his words carefully. When he said he had a much bigger dream, it should be taken as a message that his sights are set on the Major League Baseball.

Oh told a news conference in Seoul on Thursday that playing in the Japanese pro baseball league is not the end of his challenge. "The Major League is not a stage you challenge but an arena where you have to fight," the right-hander said, adding he would bring better news to his fans next year.

Oh, who had been one of the best closers in the Korean pro baseball league when he played for the Samsung Lions, joined the Hanshin Tigers this year. He grabbed the "Save King" title in the Central League, with two wins, four losses, 39 saves and an earned run average of 1.76. He also led his team`s advance to the Japan Series, winning the most valuable player title in the final stage of the post-season Climax Series.

Oh is bound by his two-year contract with the Tigers for another season before becoming a free agent eligible to seek an opportunity to join the Big League, the dream of all baseball players.

It seemed that SK Wyverns pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun and some younger Korean baseball players` quest for Major League opportunities stimulated Oh.

"Played in the Japanese league, I felt that the Korean pro baseball does not lag behind," Oh said. "Korean players who are confident about their abilities can perform well overseas."

Oh plans to focus on practicing a drop curve to prepare for the 2015 season, which would be a prelude to his aspired advance to the Big League. The addition of a drop curve to his powerful trademark fastball would make him an even more difficult hauler for batters. He said he had thrown drop curves from the middle of the 2014 season. "I gained much confidence after watching batters fooled by the curves," he noted. "I plan to further sophisticate the drop curves during upcoming training camps."

He also said he would try to become a more perfect pitcher next season. "Behind my 39 saves this season, I had four lost games and six blown saves," he confessed. "My goal is to minimize blown saves next year. I also want to try for an ERA under 1 and win the save title for two consecutive years." If he achieves all the goals, he will get much closer to fulfilling his Major League dream.