Orioles’ Yoon having ‘minor’ problems

April 14, 2014

Now 0-2 with E.R.A. of 16.20 at Triple-A
Minor leaguers are batting .486 against him 

By Kim Tong-hyung

Yoon Suk-min is not finding minor leaguers any easier. (Korea TImes file)

Yoon Suk-min is not finding minor leaguers any easier. (Korea TImes file)

Two games into his minor league career in the United States, Yoon Suk-min’s Major League Baseball (MLB) aspirations are in doubt as Triple-A hitters have turned his starts into extended batting practices.

Starting for Norfolk Tides on Sunday, Yoon, 27, who signed a three-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles in February, gave up three runs and six hits in four-plus innings as the team lost 4-0 to the Charlotte Knights, an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.

Yoon is now 0-2 with an ERA of 16.20.

Despite his struggles, Yoon’s most recent performance was an improvement from his Triple-A debut against the Gwinnet Braves last week when he allowed nine runs and 11 hits in 2 1/3 innings in a 10-3 defeat.

While it would be harsh to jump to conclusions after two starts, Orioles officials are likely concerned about Yoon’s inability to miss bats and work for outs. Although Yoon did get four strikeouts against the Knights, he also walked three and needed 76 pitches to get through 4 1/3 innings.

Triple-A hitters are batting .486 against him.

Yoon retired the three batters he faced in the third to mark his first scoreless inning in Triple-A.

Yoon, who won the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) MVP award in 2011 as a starter for the Kia Tigers, had hoped to duplicate the major league success of compatriot Ryu Hyun-jin, who has been pitching like a stud in his second year with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

However, Yoon’s Triple-A competitors Kevin Gausman (2.08 ERA) and Timothy J. McFarland (1.00 ERA) have so far looked better in their auditions for Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

While Yoon is struggling upon his arrival in the United States, Lim Chang-yong, another high-profile Korean pitcher, picked up his first win since returning to Korea.

After being released by the Chicago Cubs, Lim joined his former club and defending KBO champions Samsung Lions last month, and picked up his first win of the season against the SK Wyverns on Sunday.

The 37-year-old took the mound in the top of the eighth with the game tied at eight apiece and bases loaded with one out. Lim gave up a fly to Luke Scott, which allowed the tie-breaking run, but struck out Kim Sung-hyun to end the threat.

But, the luck was on Lim’s side, as the Lions came back to win 10-9.

Appearing in six games for the Cubs last season, Lim posted a 5.40 ERA over five innings.