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Orioles notes: For Hyun Soo Kim, highlight-reel plays in left field show defensive development

Baltimore, MD.--9/20/16-- Orioles' Hyun Soo Kim reaches over left-field fense to catch a long fly ball by Red Sox's Mookie Betts in the ninth inning.
Baltimore, MD.--9/20/16-- Orioles' Hyun Soo Kim reaches over left-field fense to catch a long fly ball by Red Sox's Mookie Betts in the ninth inning. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

Twice in two nights, Orioles left fielder Hyun Soo Kim has tracked back to the wall and robbed Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts of at least extra bases, and possibly a home run.

On Monday, he crashed into the wall to do so. Tuesday, it was more simple, but both plays are signs of how far he's come reading balls off the bat in all of the new parks he has encountered in 2016.

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"You could say that I'm comfortable," Kim said, through translator Danny Lee. "I'm very acclimated now to these ballparks. You can definitely say I've gotten better with the adjustments."

Some of that, he said, has been the experience of actually getting regular playing time and seeing how balls are getting on him. Even if he admits that the lights are still different from his native Korea, Kim said he notices improvements in himself in left field.

"I see it better and I actually react to it," Kim said.

None of the prevalent defensive metrics grade Kim highly in left field, but he's often drawn praise from teammates and manager Buck Showalter. Kim has improved at cutting balls off down the line and in the gap, and Showalter only recently saw him miss a cut-off man for the first time.

"He's been a good contributor, especially with the on-base percentage that all clubs are in need of," Showalter said. "And he's played an adequate left field, too. Real adequate thrower, sure-handed."

Around the horn: Left-hander Wade Miley will leave the team to go on paternity leave after Sunday's game, and given the Monday off-day, he could be away from the team until they get to New York next Friday, said Showalter, who does not anticipate adding a pitcher … Outfielder Steve Pearce had surgery to repair the flexor tendons in his right elbow Wednesday in New York. Showalter did not have an update as to how things went.

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