Former Brewers infielder Tyler Saladino to ‘play ball!’ in KBO
Professional baseball is back, albeit a half a world away.
The Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan began its season in mid-May. The Korean Baseball Organization will kick off its season – sans fans – May 5.
You might recognize a player here or there – both leagues allow for teams to sign a few foreigners – but there’s one in particular who will stand out for Milwaukee Brewers fans – Tyler Saladino.
Saladino played 80 games combined for the Brewers in 2018-19. He was purchased from the Chicago White Sox in April 2018 then hit .324 with three homers in May. Saladino finished the season batting .246/.302/.398 with five home runs in 52 games for Milwaukee.
Most of his 2019 season was spent in Triple-A San Antonio – where he mashed to the tune of .287/.384/.566 with 17 home runs in just 79 games.
His time with the Brewers last year was less successful – he hit just .123 in 28 games – but Saladino provided a couple of memorable moments. On back-to-back days he hit a grand slam.
On July 21 at Arizona, he connected off Alex Young to tie the game at 4 in the fourth inning. The next night in Milwaukee he took Cincinnati’s Rafael Iglesias deep in the eighth inning to give the Brewers a 5-4 lead.
— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) July 21, 2019
In December, Saladino signed with the Samsung Lions of the KBO.
He’s had to undergo a 14-day quarantine as well as South Korea’s strict stay-at-home rules – foreigners could be deported if found out on the streets – but now he’s back at the ballpark with his teammates and opponents. Although there’s no high-fiving, as Saladino found out when he became big news after forgetting and congratulated a teammate in that manner out of habit.
In exhibitions, Saladino started batting cleanup in the lineup and recently was moved to the third-place spot. He’s played third base, shortstop and first base (Craig Counsell would approve, we think).
Samsung begins its season with a game May 5 at midnight CT. However, most start times for KBO games are 4:30 a.m. These games might be televised; there’s also ways to find them on Twitter and YouTube.
The Samsung Lions website is only partially updated – although Saladino does have his own page (he’s wearing No. 68, for those who are looking to buy a jersey) but you can find the team’s upcoming schedule, box score and stats through mykbostats.com.
Time to play ball!