Korea wins Asian Games, Choo exempt from military service?

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Good news for Indians fans.

According to Jordan Bastian, MLB.com’s new Indians beat writer, South Korea defeated Taiwan 9-3 on Friday in the final of the Asian Games.  Tribe outfielder Shin-Soo Choo should now be exempt from Korea’s required two-year military service.

Choo batted .300/.401/.484 with 22 home runs, 90 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 144 games for the Indians in 2010 and he hit .300/.394/.489 with 20 homers, 86 RBI and 20 steals the year before.  With Grady Sizemore hurt, he’s probably been Cleveland’s most valuable position player over the last two seasons.

Had Korea not won, Choo might have tried to become a United States citizen in order to avoid the military stint.  But that certainly wouldn’t have gone over well in his home country and it’s far more fun that he beat the odds in a Hollywood-esque “play for your freedom” type of challenge.

Updates were hard to come by throughout the Asian Games, but we do know that Choo went 6-for-10 with three home runs and nine RBI over the first four games of the tournament.

The Indians, if so inclined, can now feel comfortable about discussing a contract extension with the 28-year-old.  He is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason.

UPDATE: Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Choo drove in two runs in the championship game.  Can the story get any better?

Cardinals place Carlos Martinez on 10-day disabled list with oblique strain

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The Cardinals have placed right-hander Carlos Martinez on the 10-day disabled list with a right oblique strain, per a team announcement on Saturday. The move is retroactive to July 20. No definite timetable has been set for his return to the rotation yet, but interim manager Mike Shildt told reporters he feels confident that Martinez will only need to skip one start before taking the mound again.

Martinez, 26, sustained the injury while trying to snare a line drive during Thursday’s 9-6 loss to the Cubs. It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the righty this season, as he lost nearly four weeks to a right lat strain and pitched to a 5.32 ERA after returning to the Cardinals’ roster in early June. Overall, however, his numbers look a little stronger: He’s 6-6 in 17 starts with a 3.39 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 8.4 SO/9 through 95 2/3 innings.

In a corresponding move, right-handed reliever John Brebbia has been recalled from Triple-A Memphis. The 28-year-old Brebbia has already enjoyed three short-lived stints in the majors this season; he currently holds a cumulative 4.13 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 9.9 SO/9 and two saves in 32 2/3 innings with the club.