S. Korean Park Hoy-jun added to Yankees’ 26-man roster

SEOUL-- Seven years after signing his first U.S. contract, South Korean infielder Park Hoy-jun has finally reached the major leagues.

The New York Yankees announced Friday (local time) that they have signed Park, a career minor leaguer, to a major league deal and placed him on their 26-man roster. Park was active for Friday's game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium but was not in the starting lineup.

Park is now the 25th South Korean to don a big league uniform. There are currently four active major leaguers from the country: Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays, Kim Kwang-hyun of the St. Louis Cardinals, Choi Ji-man of the Tampa Bay Rays and Park's former high school teammate, Kim Ha-seong of the San Diego Padres.

Before Park, Choi and Park Chan-ho had worn the Yankees' signature pinstripes among South Koreans.

Left-hander Yang Hyeon-jong pitched briefly for the Texas Rangers earlier in the season but is currently in Triple-A.

The Bronx Bombers have put six players on the COVID-19 injured list this week and needed healthy bodies for a series against the Boston Red Sox to begin the second half of the season.

Park, a highly touted prospect out of Yatap High School in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, signed with the Yankees organization in July 2014 and began his minor league career at rookie ball in 2015.

The 25-year-old reached Triple-A for the first time this year. He put up an impressive .325/.475/.541 line with eight homers, 25 RBIs and six steals in 44 games for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. He had 43 walks and 41 strikeouts. Park has mostly played second base and shortstop in the minors but has also appeared in center field and left field this year for the RailRiders.

The Yankees opened the second half in a disappointing fourth place in the American League (AL) East at 46-43. They have been getting dismal offensive production from their middle infielders.

They're second-to-last among 15 AL clubs in on-base slugging percentage (OPS) by shortstops with .628 and 10th by second basemen with .691.

Rougned Odor, who had three 30-homer seasons for the Texas Rangers, hasn't been able to duplicate his power production after joining the Yankees in an April trade. The veteran second baseman is hitting .218/.291/.424 with nine homers and 21 RBIs in 52 games.

Shortstop Gleyber Torres, two years removed from a 38-homer, 90-RBI campaign, is stuck at three homers through 77 games. Both Odor and Torres started Friday's game.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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