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Rays' infielder Choi Ji-man leaves for US to rejoin club

Tampa Bay Rays' South Korean first baseman Choi Ji-man, who has been training in his home country since April, left for the United States Tuesday to rejoin his club.A source close to Choi said Tuesday the player will continue to work out on his own until there's more clarity regarding the start of the 2020 Major League Baseball (MLB) season.In this file photo from April 13, 2020, Choi Ji-man of the Tampa Bay Rays plays catch at a private baseball academy run by his brother in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul. (Yonhap)
Tampa Bay Rays' South Korean first baseman Choi Ji-man, who has been training in his home country since April, left for the United States Tuesday to rejoin his club.A source close to Choi said Tuesday the player will continue to work out on his own until there's more clarity regarding the start of the 2020 Major League Baseball (MLB) season.In this file photo from April 13, 2020, Choi Ji-man of the Tampa Bay Rays plays catch at a private baseball academy run by his brother in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Tampa Bay Rays' South Korean first baseman Choi Ji-man, who has been training in his home country since April, left for the United States Tuesday to rejoin his club.

A source close to Choi said Tuesday the player will continue to work out on his own until there's more clarity regarding the start of the 2020 Major League Baseball (MLB) season.

When the coronavirus pandemic put the start of the season on indefinite hold, Choi came home on March 24. Following a two-week quarantine, Choi started training in a baseball academy run by his former-player brother, Jeong-woo.

He had been initially scheduled to leave in late May but extended his stay here, with no end in sight to squabbles between the big league owners and the players' union.

Earlier Tuesday in Korean time, MLB announced that the players' union had rejected its latest offer for a truncated season, and that it will move ahead with a 60-game season.

MLB asked the union to let them know if players will be able to report to camp by July 1 and if the union will agree on an operating manual containing health and safety protocols to ensure completion of the regular season and the playoffs.

Choi, 29, enjoyed his best big league season in 2019, his first full year with the Rays following a 2018 midseason trade from the Milwaukee Brewers. Choi batted .261/.363/.459 with 19 home runs, 63 RBIs and 20 doubles in 127 games, the last four numbers being all new career highs. (Yonhap)

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