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Pirates' Park Hoy-jun to leave for spring training Tuesday

Park Hoy-jun of the Pittsburgh Pirates (DUGOUT)
Park Hoy-jun of the Pittsburgh Pirates (DUGOUT)

Pittsburgh Pirates' South Korean player Park Hoy-jun is scheduled to leave for the United States on Tuesday for spring training, having cleared all medical and administrative hurdles, his agency here said.

An official with A•Spec Corp. said Park, a 25-year-old utility man, had recently tested positive for COVID-19 but had completed his mandatory quarantine. The official said it was a delay in getting Park's work permit processed, not his bout with the virus, that had kept the player from reporting for camp on time.

Following the end of a 99-day lockout last Thursday, Major League Baseball (MLB) teams have started welcoming back players to camp sites across Florida and Arizona. The Pirates, based in Bradenton, Florida, for spring training, had their first light workout Monday (US time). Spring training typically begins in February.

Ben Cherington, the Pirates' general manager, had told reporters earlier in the day that Park had tested positive for the coronavirus and was taking necessary steps to join the club as quickly as possible.

After a handful of years in the minors, Park made his big league debut with the New York Yankees in July last year. He was then traded to the Pirates later that month and became a jack-of-all-trades type player.

In 45 games between the two clubs, Park batted .195/.297/.336 with three home runs and 14 RBIs. As a Pirate, Park appeared at second base, third base and shortstop, plus all three outfield positions.

With Park's scheduled departure, all South Korean players on 40-man rosters will be in big league camps this week. Kim Ha-seong of the San Diego Padres and Choi Ji-man of the Tampa Bay Rays had departed for the US in January and February, respectively. Toronto Blue Jays' pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin left Monday, after working out here for the past three months.

Left-hander Kim Kwang-hyun, who became a free agent after two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, signed with the SSG Landers of the Korea Baseball Organization last Tuesday, just before the end of the lockout. (Yonhap)

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