Updated: April 1, 2009

Park lands in rotation with help from South Korean TV viewers

By Zaki, PhillyGameday.com

The Phillies informed Chan Ho Park that he would be the team’s fifth starter in the rotation on Tuesday.

Park signed with the Phillies this past offseason with the understanding that he would be able to earn a spot in the rotation. Pitching in the rotation would allow his countrymen in South Korea to know ahead of time when to catch him on television — as opposed to being faced with the unimaginable prospect of having to to watch every Phillies game and hope he gets in the game as a reliever.

“If I didn’t have mad fans back home, I wouldn’t care about starting and Happ would probably be the fifth starter,” said Park. “If I don’t start, all they get to see on TV is Cha Seung Baek and Shin-Shoo Choo, man. I can’t do that to my boys back home.”

The decision now means that Phillies prospect J.A. Happ will either be moved to the bullpen or sent to Triple-A Lehigh. He also pitched well this spring, but ultimately couldn’t draw a large enough TV audience from his hometown of Spring Valley, IL to remain in contention.

“We really like Happy, but we couldn’t just promise something to Park and not deliver,” said Manuel. “Our original plan was to sign Park and hope he stunk it up enough this spring to put him in the bullpen and use Happy in the rotation, but Park screwed all that up by actually getting people out.”

The Phillies also released outfielder Geoff Jenkins coincidentally on the same day the Detroit Tigers released righthanded power-hitting outfielder Gary Sheffield. The Phils had been hunting for a righthanded power-hitting bat to come off of the bench and needless to say, Ruben Amaro was in contact with Sheffield’s folks within seconds of his release.

Zaki is the Chief Rocka and senior writer for PhillyGameday.com.


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