May 04, 2021 10:43
Yang Hyeon-jong of the Texas Rangers will make his first start in Major League Baseball in an away game against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.
His selection to start the game at Target Field in Minneapolis follows two impressive relief appearances.
Making his MLB debut as a reliever against the Los Angeles Angels on April 26, Yang allowed two runs in four and 1/3 innings. In his second appearance on April 30, he pitched another four and 1/3 innings against the Boston Red Sox, allowing no runs.
"I'm always ready to take the mound whenever the team needs me, and whenever another reliever needs a break. I'm aware of the role," Yang said after his second appearance. "It would be a great opportunity to start, but I'm happy with the role that I have right now."
The starting opportunity comes earlier than expected, with manager Chris Woodward turning to Yang after Japanese starter Kohei Arihara injured a finger.
Yang's better-than-expected performances in his two outings so far appear to have raised expectations that he has potential to shoulder the starting role.
While his maximum fastball velocity is only about 150 km/h, he has mixed it very effectively with the other pitches in his arsenal, including sliders and changeups.
Acknowledging that Yang, 33, is a veteran, Woodward said, "He's been really impressive… He knows how to pitch. He just had never pitched in the big leagues."
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