By quick count, 11 former major-leaguers made their season debuts Tuesday in Korea, including former Phillies Aaron Altherr and Hyun-Soo Kim. Right-hander Dan Straily, who was acquired by the Phillies at the 2019 trade deadline but never pitched for the big-league club, also made an opening day start for his team.
Here's a breakdown of the ex-big-leaguers in action in the KBO:
Altherr started in center field and batted second for the NC Dinos, who beat the Samsung Lions 4-0. Altherr went 0 for 4.
Batting third for the Lions was shortstop Tyler Saladino, who played 326 games for the White Sox and Brewers as a utilityman from 2015-19. He went 1 for 3 with a ribbie.
Former Phils right-handers Ben Lively and David Buchanan are on the Samsung pitching staff. Our John Clark caught up with Lively yesterday to discuss the resumption of baseball in Korea.
Hyun-Soo Kim, Raul Alcantara
It's Hyun-Soo Kim's world, we're just living in it. The Korean sensation went 2 for 4 with a two-run homer off of former Oakland Athletic Raul Alcantara.
Kim was a dominant force in the KBO from 2008-15 before signing with the Orioles. The Phillies acquired him just before the 2017 trade deadline along with Garrett Cleavinger and international bonus pool money in exchange for Jeremy Hellickson.
Kim had a forgettable couple of years in MLB, hitting .273/.351/.368 with little power.
In Korea, he's one of the game's most productive hitters. He's hit .321 with a .403 OBP in nearly 6,000 plate appearances in the KBO, including a .362 clip in 2018, his first year back in his home country.
Warwick Saupold, Nick Kingham
Saupold, an Australian right-hander and Detroit Tiger from 2016-18 pitched a two-hit shutout for the Hanwha Eagles, stifling those SK Wyverns (great nickname).
He was opposed by former Pirates pitcher Nick Kingham, who allowed three runs over seven innings.
One of Kingham's best starts in the majors came against the Phillies on July 8, 2018, when he allowed one run over six innings to pick up the W.
Dan Straily, Odrisamer Despaigne, Dixon Machado
The oft-traded Straily allowed two runs over 5⅔ innings for the Lotte Giants.
In the same game, Despaigne whiffed eight and allowed a lone run over six innings before the KT Wiz bullpen fell apart late. Despaigne pitched 363 innings in the bigs for five different teams in six seasons.
Dixon Machado batted seventh for the Giants and went 2 for 4 with four RBI. Machado was a staple as an extra infielder for the Tigers from 2015-18.
Preston Tucker, Taylor Motter
Tucker had some prospect shine when he came up with the Astros in 2015 but couldn't maintain a role on a deep, talented Houston roster. He ended up with the Braves and Reds before signing with the Kia Tigers. He batted third and played right field in his debut before being lifted midway through a blowout loss to the Kiwoom Heroes.
The Heroes have third baseman Taylor Motter, who hit seven dingers for the A's in 2017.