SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles introduced South Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon to the media on Tuesday afternoon at the Ed Smith Stadium Complex.
Here is a transcript of what Yoon had to say:
On how familiar he is with the Orioles:
“I know about Cal Ripken, Jr. having the longest per game streak, continuously. I knows about that. … I’ve seen a lot of games. I’ve seen a lot of young talent on this team, and I’m glad to be part of the team that’s so young and talented.”
On his shoulder injury from last season:
"I started his season late. I started pitching in May. The reason I was pitching out of the bullpen was the manager of the team felt the closers on the team weren’t doing their job and he wanted the best pitcher on the team to close out the games so that the team could win, so that was the main reason I threw out of the bullpen."
On what his biggest adjustment will be:
"You have the most elite players here in the United States in MLB, so he has to adjust to that. Pitching to the top hitters in the world. … He doesn’t feel that he’ll succumb to that type of pressure. He knows how he can pitch."
On when he began dreaming of pitching in the US:
"I grew up watching Chan Ho Park pitch in the U.S. and I realized that was the league he wanted to pitch in. I worked hard to get to that goal, and now that I’m here. I’m very excited. But I also want the season to start right away because I’m so excited."
On why he selected the Orioles:
"Obviously, I liked the terms of the contract. Dan was very gracious with the terms. And secondarily, the opportunity to start and try to compete for a starting position here with the Orioles."
On what it was like waiting for contract to be completed the past few days:
"When I arrived here I was really anxious to start practicing. I saw the facilities and saw how nice they were. the fact that I was able to go out there and practice today made me feel good. I’m really, really happy today."
On the possibility of relieving:
"I’m reflecting a lot on the Kia Tigers and when I was 18 years old and the uncertainty surrounding that entrance. I’m approaching that in the same manner. I want to work hard, look good in front of the manager and pitch well so i have an opportunity to start."
On his impressions of the United States:
"I’ve played here in the United States, including down in Port Charlotte and the last three seasons I’ve been in Surprise, Arizona with the Kia Tigers. I’ve been in the US a lot. And every time I’ve been in the U.S., I don't want to go back to Korea because the facilities here are so nice. And everything about U.S. baseball seems so much more advanced. So, I’m happy to be here and looking forward to the season."
On turning down larger offers in South Korea:
"That’s true, I had better offers in Korea to play in the KBO and stay there. But ever since I could have been posted two years ago, and now that I’m a free agent now, my determination to pitch in the U.S. hasn’t changed. In the MLB. That was the ultimate decision-maker. It wasn’t necessarily about the money, it was about the opportunity to be competitive and play in the best League in the world."