There wasn’t much of a free agent market for Chan Ho Park despite his sold performance down the stretch for the Pirates, so the 38-year-old veteran of 17 MLB seasons headed to Japan and signed with the Orix Buffaloes.
And apparently it isn’t going very well.
Alastair Himmer of Reuters reports that Park was demoted to the minor leagues “after being told to ‘stop fooling around’ and get serious.”
Park had a 4.29 ERA in seven starts, but drew heavy criticism from pitching coach Osamu Fukuma after giving up six runs in his most recent outing. MLB teams learned that Park was much more effective as a reliever, so perhaps Orix will give him a second chance out of the bullpen.
The Dodgers announced that pitching prospect Walker Buehler will be called up to start on Monday against the Marlins. Rich Hill went on the 10-day disabled list with a cracked fingernail, so Buehler will serve as a fill-in while the lefty is out, likely for just one start.
Buehler, a 23-year-old right-hander, made his major league debut last September, making eight relief appearances. He struggled, yielding eight runs on 11 hits and eight walks with 12 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings. He was off to a good start to his 2018 season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, owning a 2.08 ERA with 16 strikeouts and four walks in 13 innings.
Monday will be Buehler’s first major league start. He is the Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect and No. 12 overall in baseball according to MLB Pipeline.