Cardinals’ Kim Kwang-hyun shuffled to bullpen for next spring outing

March 5, 2020

Instead of making his second spring training start this week as scheduled, St. Louis Cardinals’ Kim Kwang-hyun will pitch out of the bullpen.

Following a game against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, Florida, on Wednesday (local time), Cardinals’ manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Kim will go two innings in relief against the same Mets on Thursday in Jupiter, Florida. Kim will follow starter Adam Wainwright, who’s scheduled to go four innings.

The first pitch at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium is 1:05 p.m. Thursday locally, and 3:05 a.m. Friday in South Korea.

In this file photo from Feb. 26, 2020, Kim Kwang-hyun of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Miami Marlins in a Major League Baseball spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Florida. (Yonhap)
In this file photo from Feb. 26, 2020, Kim Kwang-hyun of the St. Louis Cardinals speaks to reporters following his Major League Baseball spring training game against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Florida. (Yonhap)

In this file photo from Feb. 26, 2020, Kim Kwang-hyun of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Miami Marlins in a Major League Baseball spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Florida. (Yonhap)

The last-minute change adds another wrinkle to Kim’s week. He was originally scheduled to start Monday against the Minnesota Twins but was scratched because of mild groin soreness. He had a successful bullpen session that day, and the Cardinals had him lined up to start Thursday, only to move him to a relief role.

Kim, who signed with the Cardinals in December after 13 years with the SK Wyverns in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), has made two spring training appearances so far — one in relief and one in a start. He has struck out five and walked one in three scoreless innings. His previous outing, a start against the Miami Marlins, was on Feb. 26.

Kim is battling for one of two rotation spots to start the regular season. But the career starter in the KBO has also expressed willingness to pitch out of the bullpen and could get some looks as a reliever, given the absence of veteran lefty Andrew Miller.

Miller is dealing with a mysterious ailment that, despite a lack of accompanying pain, has kept him from getting a feel for the ball in his hand.

But Shildt insisted Kim’s upcoming relief appearance is not related to Miller’s unavailability.

“It could potentially open up a spot that Kim could take. But I don’t think that it’s because Miller is out that Kim goes in,” the manager said. “Kim still is being viewed as a starter. You’re talking about a guy with 190 innings last year (in the KBO). He can ramp up.”

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