2009: The Korean-born Chan Ho Park opened the 2009 season as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies starting rotation, but was relegated to bullpen duty after recording a 7.50 ERA during his first eight appearances. Like many other pitchers that move from the rotation to the pen, Park encountered a spike in fastball velocity; this helped him become a very strong relief option for the club. Park went on to post a 2.52 ERA and a 3.25 K/BB ratio in 50 relief innings, essentially becoming one of the most trusted pitchers in the Philly pen down the stretch. He struggled during the NLCS, but did toss three scoreless innings against the Yankees during the World Series.
2010: Park signed a $1.2 million deal with the Yankees as pitchers and catchers were trickling in to spring training. According to reports, he wanted to join a team that would give him a chance to start, but opted to join the Yankees because he wanted a shot at a ring.
The 36 year-old right-hander will add another veteran arm to a youthful Yankee pen. Despite his preference to start, Park has proven to be a solid reliever who can keep the ball in the park. I’d worry about his transition to the American League, but if his 2009 statistics are any indication of how he’ll perform this season, the Yankees could have another quality reliever on their hands. He’ll join David Robertson, Damaso Marte and the loser of the Joba Chamberlain/ Phil Hughes battle as the primary setup men for Mariano Rivera.