South Korean minor leaguer Hwang Jae-gyun is headed to San Francisco to join the Giants, realizing his dream of playing in Major League Baseball, the big league club said Wednesday.
The Giants said they've purchased Hwang's contract from the Triple-A Sacramento, and manager Bruce Bochy said the South Korean will likely get the starting nod at third base against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park on Wednesday (local time), or early Thursday in South Korea.
Earlier in the day, an informed source told Yonhap News Agency that Hwang had received word of his promotion to the bigs.
Hwang, 29, joins three other South Koreans in the majors this year: Texas Rangers outfielder Choo Shin-soo, St. Louis Cardinals closer Oh Seung-hwan and Baltimore Orioles outfielder Kim Hyun-soo.
Hwang signed a split contract with the Giants in January, meaning the club would offer Hwang different salaries for the time spent in the majors and the minors. He had an opt out clause in his contract that would allow him to declare free agency if he wasn't called up by the Giants by July 1.
Earlier in the week, Hwang said in an interview with a South Korean portal website that he planned to exercise that contractual right and opt out of his deal unless the Giants brought him up. In that case, he could have tried to land with another major league club or return to the Korea Baseball Organization, where he'd spent the first 10 years of his pro career.
The Giants ruled out those possibilities, having decided to put him on their big league roster while placing another infielder, Conor Gillaspie, on the disabled list with a lower back injury.
Hwang had a productive spring training, leading the team with 15 RBIs while batting .333 with five home runs in 27 games. The third baseman, however, failed to make the 25-man Opening Day roster, and has been playing with the Triple-A Sacramento since then.
Hwang was batting .287 with seven home runs and 44 RBIs in 68 games with Sacramento. He has mostly split his time at third base and first base, and has made two starts in left field.