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Kim Hyun-soo wins back Orioles fans at bat

Apr 05,2017
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Kim Hyun-soo, left fielder for Baltimore Orioles, played the season opener against the Toronto Blue Jays at Orioles Park at Camden Yards on Monday. [JOONGANG PHOTO]
Unlike last year, when Kim Hyun-soo of the Baltimore Orioles got booed by fans in the season opener, this time he was cheered at Orioles Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore on Monday.

Kim, who was the seventh batter and left fielder during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays, had no hits in three at-bats. He was given opportunities throughout the game against Marco Estrada, a right-handed pitcher for the Jays, but was unable to connect. While he was at bat in the second, fourth and seventh innings, Kim hit three ground-outs. And in the eighth, Kim was switched for Joseph Rickard. The Orioles won the game 3-2.

Although Kim was unable to produce any hits, it was a meaningful season opener for him. After an outstanding career at the Korean Baseball Organization, winning the KBO Golden Glove Award four times and producing a 0.318 batting average with 142 home runs and 771 runs batted in throughout ten seasons playing for the Doosan Bears, Kim signed a two-year contract worth $7 million in December 2015.

Despite expectations, Kim played poorly throughout spring training, leading him to get assigned to the minor league. However, since Kim rejected the assignment, he was able to make his major league debut.

Because he turned down the minor league offer, Kim got booed by fans in the season opener last year. In his first major league game against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 10, 2016, Kim had two hits and scored a run.

Throughout the season, Kim proved his ability by recording a 0.302 batting average with six home runs. This year, he showed improvement by recording a 0.271 batting average with one home run and eight runs batted in, earning a chance to be in the starting line-up and recognition from the fans.

The Orioles will host the Jays again on Thursday.

Choo Shin-soo of the Texas Rangers also played his season opener against the Cleveland Indians at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, on Monday. Choo went one-for-four against the Indians and the Rangers lost 8-5.

Oh Seung-hwan, closer for the St. Louis Cardinals, still managed to pick up a win after blowing the Cardinal’s first save opportunity in the season opener against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium on Sunday. While the Cardinals was leading 3-0, Oh gave up a home run in eighth to tie the game 3-3. The Cardinals won the game 4-3.

BY PARK LIN [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]