BOSTON — Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi said he would relish the chance to be part of the team of big-leaguers that will play four games in his native South Korea in November.
Major League Baseball announced plans Friday for the visit, the first since 1922. Choi said, via interpreter Daniel Park, that he had not been contacted yet “but if they do offer me I would love to play in Korea for the first time.”
Choi signed with the Mariners as an 18-year-old, so he didn’t first play in the Korea Baseball Organization as some others who then came over. His only experience playing in South Korea came last offseason in a charity exhibition in which he pitched.
“I was very nervous,” Choi said. “But I think this opportunity would be a great opportunity for MLB to go there and play there and possibly grow the interest of baseball in Korea, and bring a lot of fans, too.”
Choi said if he gets invited, the biggest factor would be how he feels physically. The timing could be an issue as the trip starts less than a week after the end of the World Series.
Also, Choi said he has not heard if he will be invited to play for the Korean team in the spring World Baseball Classic.
“I know Ji-Man wants to go and represent his country, and you understand why,” manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s played over here, and to go back and get to play in front of his fans, that’s pretty special.”
Brendan McKay update
An MRI Friday revealed that pitcher Brendan McKay has damage to the UCL in his left elbow; he left Thursday’s game with Triple-A Durham after throwing one pitch. McKay, who has dealt with several arm and shoulder injuries, was said to have felt something concerning and headed to the dugout. The team plans to seek a second opinion and there is no decision yet if he’ll potentially need Tommy John surgery or another medical procedure.
Wander Franco (right hand surgery) will continue treatments and workouts at Tropicana Field through the weekend and seems unlikely to resume playing rehab games with Durham until the middle of next week, at best. … Tyler Glasnow (elbow surgery) headed to Durham to throw a live batting practice Sunday, with the potential to advance next to games. … The Florida Complex League Rays lost Friday’s opener of the best-of-three championship series, 7-2, to the Yankees; Game 2 is Saturday at noon in Port Charlotte (free admission).
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