SARASOTA, FLA. — With each day that South Korean outfielder Hyun Soo Kim remains in major league limbo, his impasse with the team becomes more apparent.
Kim hasn't played a Grapefruit League game since Saturday, and on Tuesday evening, executive vice president Dan Duquette said it wasn't looking like he would make the Opening Day roster.
On Thursday, after another meeting between Kim and manager Buck Showalter, Duquette explained the organization's desire for Kim to accept an assignment to the minors in a text message to The Baltimore Sun.
Kim's two-year, $7 million contract says he must consent to any minor league assignment. Kim, who on Wednesday denied an interview request through his interpreter, must decide whether to accept the assignment or possibly return to South Korea.
Despite the organization's wishes, reports out of South Korea that cite Kim's representation in that country say he will not accept the assignment, instead requesting that the Orioles honor his contract.
"The Orioles are happy Kim is on board, but feel [he] needs more at-bats to prepare for [the] season, which unfortunately we don't have right now in Baltimore, and it is the reason [the] club requested [the] player consider [an] optional assignment," Duquette said.
"We recognize player rights, and we are glad to have in [our] organization. We all look forward to his contribution to the club after Kim has more time to adjust to his new surroundings."
Showalter said Wednesday that Kim would not play in Grapefruit League games or the exhibition game against the Philadelphia Phillies until his roster status is resolved.
That means he'll end the spring batting .182 after going hitless in his first 23 at-bats. As Kim slumped, Rule 5 outfielder Joey Rickard hit .390 and was the breakout player in camp. Rickard, as a result, made the team.
"It was a razor-thin roster call choosing another player, given Kim's distinguished track record," Duquette said.
Kim is a career .318 hitter in the Korean Baseball Organization, and hit a career-high 28 home runs while batting .326/.438/.531 in 2015.
"It is a short transition period to adjust to coming to Baltimore," Duquette said. "I wish we had more time. In Korea, the pro clubs train for 10 weeks to prepare for season, but here just half that time."
Fox Sports first reported that Kim was resisting his assignment.
Around the horn: Thursday's matinee crowd of 5,441, the Orioles had 119,029 fans in 16 games at Ed Smith Stadium. It was the second-most fans they've hosted since moving to Sarasota, with a record 11 sellouts. … Showalter said outfielder/designated hitter Jimmy Paredes (wrist) will likely start swinging a bat soon. "He's been forgotten by some, but not by us," Showalter said. "It's been a pretty long injury."