Twins' ByungHo Park slugging his way back to the majors

BY Ryan Lund • March 20, 2017

ByungHo Park is back.

A little over a month after being dropped from the Minnesota Twins' roster Park is suddenly showing off the power that the club was looking for when they paid a $12.85 million fee to sign the Korean slugger.

Park hit his fourth home run of the spring Monday, hammering a two-run blast in the fifth inning off Francisco Liriano and powering the Twins to an 8-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Just a few weeks ago the Blue Jays -- like every MLB club -- had a chance to claim him.

The former KBO home run champ has responded with a seismic spring.

He leads the Twins with 13 hits and four home runs in 33 at-bats, and emerged from Tuesday's tussle with the Rays hitting .394 with a .818 slugging percentage.

He's walking too.

Park -- who seemed so overmatched by big-league pitching just a season ago -- has five walks and nine strikeouts after striking out 80 times in just 215 at-bats as a rookie.

He hit .191 with 12 home runs and appeared in just 62 games before being optioned to Triple-A Rochester as a rookie despite flashing some tantalizing power early in the season, before a nagging wrist issue ended his season.

Park's resurgence could be enough to unseat Kennys Vargas, who was expected to open the season as the Twins' designated hitter.

Vargas went just 1-for-13 in spring training before leaving the Twins to join Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic.

He went 2-for-5 with a home run in Puerto Rico's win over Venezuela on Sunday, setting up a showdown for the DH spot once he returns.

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