Rays’ Ji-Man Choi would love to play in South Korea’s exhibition games

BOSTON — Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi said he would relish the opportunity to be a part of the major league team 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, through interpreter Daniel Park, that he had not yet been contacted “but if they offer me, I would love to play in Korea for the first time.”

Choi signed with the Mariners when he was 18 years old, so he didn’t first play in the Korea Baseball Organization like some others who came later. His only experience playing in South Korea was last offseason at a charity exhibition he pitched for.

“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 increase the interest of baseball in Korea, and also attract a lot of fans.”

Choi said that if he is invited, the most important factor would be how he feels physically. Timing could be an issue as the trip begins 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 here, and to come back and play in front of his fans, that’s pretty special.”

Brendan McKay Update

An MRI on Friday revealed pitcher Brendan McKay has UCL damage to his left elbow; he left Thursday’s game with Triple-A Durham after throwing a pitch. McKay, who has dealt with various arm and shoulder injuries, was said to have felt something troubling and headed to the bench. The team plans to seek a second opinion and has not yet decided if he will potentially need Tommy John surgery or another medical procedure.


Wander Franco (right hand surgery) will continue treatment and training at Tropicana Field over the weekend and it seems unlikely he will play rehab games again with Durham until the middle of next week, at best. … Tyler Glasnow (elbow surgery) headed to Durham for live batting practice Sunday, with the potential to advance to the games side. … The Rays of the Florida Complex League lost Friday’s best-of-three championship series opener, 7-2, to the Yankees; The second game is Saturday at noon in Port Charlotte (free admission).

• • •

Subscribe to the weekly Rays Report newsletter for fresh perspectives on the Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of the majors from sports columnist John Romano.

Catch the latest from the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.

Leave a Comment