Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Hwang homers for first Major League hit

South Korea native makes big league debut for Giants at third base
MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jae-Gyun Hwang spent April, May and most of June touring Triple-A cities when all he could think about were Major League ones.

When he finally made it Wednesday, he took advantage. Loud and clear.

View Full Game Coverage

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jae-Gyun Hwang spent April, May and most of June touring Triple-A cities when all he could think about were Major League ones.

When he finally made it Wednesday, he took advantage. Loud and clear.

View Full Game Coverage

Hwang knocked in his first Majors run in the fourth with a groundout and recorded his first hit -- a go-ahead solo homer -- in the sixth. His efforts helped the Giants collect their first sweep of 2017 with a 5-3 win over Colorado.

The blast, projected by Statcast™ to be 417 feet, made Hwang the 17th player in Giants history to homer for his first hit.

Video: COL@SF: Hwang on debut, hitting first homer

"It's pretty unreal," Hwang said through translator Mark Kim. "I've had some great moments but … it's still just so unreal. I can't describe how special it is."

Hwang -- famous for his bat-flips in Korea -- opted instead for a more subtle bat drop. The moment was all a blur for the 29-year-old, though.

"I wasn't really planning on it," Hwang said. "I don't even know what I was thinking at the time, it just happened. Even right now, I can't remember what I was thinking at the moment."

Video: COL@SF: Hwang drives in first MLB run, plates Panik

Before starting at third base, Hwang reflected on all he's sacrificed to reach the sport's top tier. San Francisco promoted Hwang on Wednesday and placed Conor Gillaspie on the disabled list (retroactive to Monday) with back spasms.

Hwang took every advantage to make a strong first impression. On top of his first homer, Hwang's teammates showered him with beer in the clubhouse -- another first.

"I've given up a lot back home -- whether that's money, being away from family, my career and everything -- just to be here," Hwang said. "The only reason I did that was because I wanted to realize my childhood dream of playing a game in the big leagues."

Hwang said his family and friends were emotional upon learning of his promotion. Many were up at 4:45 a.m. to catch the broadcast -- which featured an enthusiastic home run call. Hwang's noticed his name appear many times on Korean media searches.

"They were really surprised when I gave them the video call," Hwang said of his parents' reaction. "To be honest, they were almost tearing up when I told them. They were kind of shocked and surprised -- a lot of mixed emotions."

Video: COL@SF: Bochy on Hwang's debut, Blach's outing

Hwang sat patiently as many of his Triple-A teammates -- Austin Slater, Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones, to name a few -- received the call. Hwang said he hadn't made "an ultimate decision" on whether to opt out of his contract by Saturday, but he was "thinking about that possibility."

Hwang said his English is improving, but he joked that he "doesn't want to put my friend [Kim] out of a job, so I'm just pretending I don't speak English."

Hwang is the first Korean-born player to suit up for the Giants.

"It's a special moment," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "These are moments you love.

"You have your tough times in this game, but when something like this happens, it's a special occasion, and you try and savor it."

Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

San Francisco Giants