Spurned by L.A., Park to Start For Phillies

Kang Seung-woo of the Korean Times reports that the Phillies have named former Dodger Chan Ho Park as their fifth starter. He won the position on Tuesday when he worked 5.2 innings and allowed one earned run with seven strikeouts against the Houston Astros.

Park, who made his U.S. Major League debut in 1994 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, accumulated solid numbers this spring, going 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 21.1 innings.

The South Korean right-hander agreed to a $2.5-million contract with the Phillies in December after the team had promised him a chance to compete for the No. 5 starter position in spring training.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. made the announcment that the 15-year veteran has earned the No. 5 starting position in the rotation. "I think our entire staff thought Park pitched better this spring," Amaro said. "We're a better club with him in the rotation at this time."

Park is expected to start on April 12 against the Colorado Rockies on the road.

Park expressed his delight on the Phillies Web site, saying "I feel very happy. First, because I had a good spring. Second, I made a deal to make the rotation instead of playing for the Korean national team. It worked out pretty well. I'm sorry about not playing for the country, but I think they're happy and excited about it."

Last season with the Dodgers he appeared in 54 games, including five starts, and posted a 3.40 ERA. He was extremely effective in the spot starts, going 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA.

The rumor was that the Dodgers would not guarantee him a trial as a starter and Park left as a free agent to find a club that would -- and apparently found it. It seems like a strange decision, based on the difficulty Los Angeles has had this spring filling the same spot that the Phillies have now awarded him.