BALTIMORE— A month ago, the Orioles were angry with Hyun Soo Kim because he didn’t want to go to the minor leagues. Now, he’s batting .600.
Kim had three more hits in Saturday night’s game. He’s 9-for-15 in four starts, and he’s 2-for-2 in pinch hitting appearances.
Manager Buck Showalter likes to say about players who campaign for more playing time: “You want to play more? Play better.”
Showalter says it’s true in Kim’s case.
“That’s why I’ve played him,” Showalter said. “That’s how it works. Whose place should he take?”
Both Kim and Pedro Alvarez, who has three multi-hit games this week, have hit recently, creating a happy dilemma for Showalter.
“I like that challenge,” Showalter said. “I haven’t quite figured out how it works mathematically. It’s kind of hard.”
The left-handed Kim has had all his at-bats against right-handers.
“You get an idea about guys, kind of who they might match up against well initially,” Showalter said. “You don’t know. I still don’t for sure. I know he’s had some good at-bats off certain guys. We’ll see if he can go to the next level against some other guys.”
Showalter feels that Kim has made the most out of not playing most of the first month. He’s had quite an adjustment to U.S. baseball from South Korea.
“I think Kim’s benefitted a little bit by being able to step back and watch something unfold that he didn’t know what was going to happen, the stadiums, the fields, the pitchers, all the things we do differently here,” Showalter said.