Park Chan-ho took part in his first pitching practice in the pinstripes of the New York Yankees on Tuesday (Korean time), a day after he arrived at the club's spring training base in Tampa, Florida. The 37-year-old pitcher got to wear his number 61, which he has been wearing since his Major League Baseball debut.
Outfielder Greg Golson was originally given 61, but it was handed over to Park as "part of the Yankees' plan to accommodate their newest player," the New York Times reported. Park threw 35 pitches on Tuesday, combining both fastballs and variations, and the team's staff expressed their satisfaction.
In an interview with U.S. media, Park said he chose to play with the New York club for "another chance to get the [World Series] ring." In his 17th year in the MLB, the veteran pitcher has yet to win a World Series title. His closest shot so far was last season when he helped the Philadelphia Phillies advance to the World Series. Park did his best, but the Phillies eventually lost to the Yankees.
After the 2009 season, Park refused the Phillies' offer of US$3 million, and the Chicago Cubs' offer to give him a shot at the starting rotation, and chose to play in the Yankees' bullpen in a one-year deal worth $1.2 million and up to $300,000 in bonuses.
With 27 World Series and 40 American League titles, the Yankees are one of the most prestigious teams in the MLB and are expected to win the World Series again this year. MLB spring training officially gets underway on Wednesday, and the playing season kicks off on April 5.