Yoon wants to start for Orioles
SARASOTA, Fla. -- A day after he officially signed a three-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles, Suk-min Yoon said his goal in coming to the major leagues was to be a starting pitcher.
The 27-year-old South Korean will have to compete for a spot on the Orioles' suddenly competitive staff. With Ubaldo Jimenez in camp for a physical, Baltimore's starters look to be Jimenez, Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris.
Yoon may be sent to the bullpen.
Jimenez agreed to a four-year contract on Monday. While the deal is not yet official until he passes the physical, Yoon will be part of an intriguing staff.
Yoon both started and relieved in nine seasons for the KIA Tigers, but he's made it clear he wants to start.
"I want to work hard, look good in front of the manager and pitch well so I have an opportunity to start," Yoon said through an interpreter.
He was offered more money to stay in South Korea, but the lure of the U.S. was strong.
"I had better offers in Korea," Yoon said. "It wasn't necessarily about the money, it was about the opportunity to be competitive and play in the best league in the world."
For several years, Yoon has trained in the U.S., and on his visits, was envious of the superior facilities.
"Every time I've been in the U.S., I don't want to go back to Korea," Yoon said.
Last year, Yoon mostly worked out of the bullpen. He had shoulder tendinitis, which the Orioles say is no longer a problem.
Manager Buck Showalter said it would take him about 10 days to see whether Yoon was better suited for starting or relieving.
On Tuesday, Yoon easily threw about 30 pitches off flat ground and ran sprints. He can't wait to get started.
"You have the most elite players here in the United States in MLB, so I have to adjust to that -- pitching to the top hitters in the world," Yoon said.
"I don't feel that I'll succumb to that type of pressure. I know I can pitch," he said.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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