Padres infielder Kim Ha-seong eager to help nat’l team double play partner Edman

SEOUL– With three major league players set to man the shortstop, second base and first base positions at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March, South Korea could have its version of “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

The phrase is a nod to a double play turned by Chicago Cubs shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers and first baseman Frank Chance, an early 20th-century combination immortalized in a poem. And for the first two parts of the equation, South Korea will boast two of the very best defenders in the majors: San Diego Padres shortstop Kim Ha-seong and St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Tommy Edman.

“Edman is a complete package. He can hit, he can play defense, and he runs the bases really well,” Kim said of his double play partner at a press conference in Seoul, following a national team orientation. “I don’t even have to say much about his defense. And as a switch hitter, he’s going to help us a lot at the plate. Once he gets on base, he’s going to keep opposing catchers on their toes with his base running.”

Kim was a Gold Glove finalist at shortstop last year, while Edman won the Gold Glove at second base in 2021. Edman earned two nominations last year, at second base and at the newly created utility position.

Born to an American father and a Korean mother, Edman is allowed to represent South Korea under WBC’s loose set of eligibility rules. There’s no doubting his baseball abilities, but Edman told Yonhap News Agency in an interview last week that he is working hard to improve his Korean language skills.

Kim, for his part, said he is willing to help his fellow big leaguer adjust to the national team.

“We may not spend that much time together, but I will try to talk to him as much as I can,” Kim said. “As far as turning double plays, we each have to do our part, and we will be just fine.”

The national team will set up training camp in Arizona next month. Edman will first report to the Cardinals’ camp in Jupiter, Florida, before joining the South Korean team later in February.

South Korea manager Lee Kang-chul said his technical staff have been in touch with Edman regarding his training schedule, though nothing has been determined yet.

“Both he and Ha-seong are major league players, and even if Edman joins us later than the others, I don’t foresee major problems with his defense,” Lee said. “I believe Ha-seong will be helping him a great deal.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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