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More KBO players emerge as Major Leaguers

Posted August. 24, 2019 07:57,   

Updated August. 24, 2019 07:57


Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin, who will aim to secure his 13th win of this season at the Dodger Stadium at 11:10 am on Saturday, will wear a uniform that will look slightly different from his ordinary one. He will wear a uniform with his name printed in Korean rather than his last name “RYU” in English.

From Saturday through next Monday, Major League players are allowed to print their other names of choice or nicknames on their uniforms. It is a part of “Players Weekend,” which has been jointly organized by the Major League Baseball Secretariat and its union of players. Players’ uniforms and gears are put to auction at the event, and the proceeds will be used to promote the development of youth baseball.

Of the 750 Major Leaguers affiliated with 30 teams, Ryu is the only one that will print his name in Korean on the uniform. In 2017 and 2018, Ryu used his English nickname “MONSTER.” It is the first time in seven years that Ryu is wearing a uniform with his Korean name printed on it since he last wore such a uniform as a Hanwha Eagles pitcher in the Korea Baseball Organization League in 2012.

Ryu is not the only player who has emerged as a key Major League player from the KBO League. Others include Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Eric Thames and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly.

As former KBO League players achieve success in the Major League one after another, Major League teams are sending their scouts to the Korean league on a regular basis to check out promising players. Recently, Doosan Bears pitcher Josh Lindblom, who has recorded 19 wins this season, and SK Wyverns left-hander Kim Kwang-hyun (15 wins, 3 losses, and ERA of 2.34) have drawn attention from Major League scouts. Kim will become a free agent for the second time in his career after the next season, before seeking to move to the Big League.

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com