February 23, 2010 09:49
Pitcher Park Chan-ho, Korea's first Major League Baseball player, announced in a press conference on Monday that he has signed a one-year deal to play for the New York Yankees for US$1.2 million and up to $300,000 in bonuses. He will become the first Korean to play for the venerable New York team.
For Park, who has earned over $80 million in salary alone, including $2.5 million while playing for the Philadelphia Phillies last year, money wasn't an issue in choosing a team. "$1.2 million is what I got when I joined the Los Angeles Dodgers 16 years ago," he said. "The Yankees are the team with the most World Series titles."
What really matters for Park is another shot at the World Series, as well as becoming the winningest Asian pitcher in the MLB. He appeared in four games of the World Series last year, pitching three and 1/3 innings and allowing no runs and just two hits. His performance was impressive enough to land a deal with the Yankees.
With a career record of 120 wins and 95 losses, Park needs just four more wins to break the record of retired Japanese player Hideo Nomo as the winningest Asian pitcher in the MLB. However, Park rejected an offer from the Chicago Cubs which included a chance to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. His plan is to look for opportunities to pick up wins while playing in the Yankees bullpen.
Park recorded two wins and two losses with an ERA of 2.52 while playing as a bullpen pitcher last season. With the Yankees, he is likely to continue that duty, taking the mound in the sixth or seventh inning when his team is ahead. "I'll get to meet Choo Shin-soo [of the Cleveland Indians] more often as I'm moving to the American League," Park said. "Whether I win or give up a hit or a home run to him, I think it will feel good either way."
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