SARASOTA, Fla. — On Saturday afternoon, South Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon sat quietly on the couch in the main lobby of the Ed Smith Stadium complex, awaiting word from the Baltimore Orioles on whether he had passed his physical.
There was talk that the Orioles would announce the Yoon deal by Saturday afternoon, but a club source said there is “still work to do” before an official announcement is made. Still, initial reviews of Yoon’s physical Friday were positive.
The 27-year-old Yoon made a quick stop at the Orioles’ complex Saturday with his agent from the Boras Corp., Tad Hun Yo.
Yo declined a request to interview Yoon, saying the Orioles’ three-year, $5.575 million deal with the pitcher is not yet official. He said he was still waiting to hear that Yoon has passed his physical, but both sides were tentatively planning were to introduce Yoon to the media Monday.
Yoon plans to stay in Sarasota instead of going back to South Korea to apply for a work visa.
The club plans to apply for an I-94 visa — which all foreign players need before they can officially join the club and play in games — at the South Korean consulate in Canada. That would prevent him from having to take a day-long trip back to South Korea to apply for the visa in his native country.
The visa process could still take about two weeks, but in the meantime, Yoon would likely still be able to work out with the Orioles and even participate in intrasquad and “B” games. That would be critical for a foreign player already arriving at camp late and getting adjusted to the American game.
Manager Buck Showalter raved about the power that infielder Jonathan Schoop has shown in batting practice the past few days. On Friday, he blasted a home run that hit a car in the parking lot on a field where the wind traditionally blows in.
Schoop said he put on eight to 10 pounds in the offseason working out with Texas Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar in their native Curacao. In batting practice this week, the pop coming off his bat has been noticeably loud.
“I lifted a lot to get stronger in my legs,” Schoop said. “If you want to play the whole season, you need to be strong, and lifting is part of the game.”
Schoop has dealt with injuries — including knee problems and a stress fracture in his back that cost him two months last season — and the club believes those ailments were partly rooted in the 22-year-old Schoop’s growing into his body.
— Baltimore Sun