Choo Shin-soo welcomes fellow MLB All-Star Ryu Hyun-jin to KBO

It was a message from one former major league All-Star to another: welcome home. Choo Shin-soo of the SSG Landers in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said Wednesday he is looking forward to going up against Ryu Hyun-jin, the former big league hurler who reunited with his former KBO club, Hanwha Eagles, on Thursday. After days of buildup, the Eagles finalized their eight-year contract with Ryu, the 2019 National League starter in the All-Star Game, on Thursday. Choo, the 2018 American League All-Star for the Texas Rangers, said he wanted to first pat Ryu on the back for a job well done during his 11 years in the majors. "It's not easy to live and play in a foreign country and a foreign culture," Choo said in a statement released by the Landers, while training for the new season in Vero Beach, Florida. "Despite those challenges, Hyun-jin pitched so well. He has been outstanding." Choo, 41, played in Major League Baseball from 2005 to 2020, while Ryu, 36, did so from 2013 to 2023, after first playing f or the Eagles from 2006 to 2012. They went head-to-head just once in their career: on July 27, 2013, when Ryu started for the Los Angeles Dodgers against Choo and the Cincinnati Reds. Choo went 0-for-2 with a walk and Ryu earned his ninth win of his rookie season as the Dodgers prevailed 4-1. "I am looking forward to facing Hyun-jin. Since he has tremendous talent and played baseball at a high level, he will help increase the popularity of the KBO and also elevate the quality of play here," Choo said. "Hyun-jin can be a role model for fellow players. I hope he will share what he saw and experienced with younger players in Korea and try to help develop Korean baseball." Source: Yonhap News Agency