South Korean pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun (Yonhap)
St. Louis Cardinals' new South Korean pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun will make his first spring training start this week.
Currently training in Jupiter, Florida, the Cardinals announced Monday (local time) that the left-hander will start against the Miami Marlins in Wednesday's home game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.
It'll be a split squad game for the Cardinals, whose other half will play the Houston Astros in West Palm Beach, south of Jupiter, also on Wednesday. Left-hander Genesis Cabrera will start that game for the Cards.
Kim, who signed with St. Louis in December after 13 years with South Korea's SK Wyverns, made his spring debut in relief last Saturday against the New York Mets. He struck out two and walked one in one scoreless inning as the Cardinals won the game 2-0.
Kim, who was an MVP-winning starter in his native country, is fighting for a spot in the Cardinals' rotation. He has said he's open to pitching out of the bullpen, which gives the Cardinals some flexibility.
Four starters from last year, Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas, are all back, though Mikolas experienced elbow issues at the start of camp and will miss the beginning of the regular season.
Carlos Martinez, a two-time All-Star as a starter, closed for the Cardinals last year and is eyeing a return to the rotation. The candidate pool expanded during spring training to include Cabrera, Ryan Hesley, John Gant and Daniel Ponce de Leon. From this group, only Cabrera and Ponce de Leon made starts in 2019.
That Kim is a lefty with extensive professional starting experience could work in his favor. The Cardinals haven't had a full-time left-handed starter since Jaime Garcia in 2016. In three seasons since then, they have received just 14 starts combined from southpaws. (Yonhap)