Wrist surgery to end season for Twins' Park

August 24th, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS -- First baseman/designated hitter Byungho Park, who was one of the Twins' major acquisitions last offseason, will undergo season-ending surgery on his right wrist on Thursday, the club announced on Wednesday.

Park, 30, who was at Triple-A Rochester, had been dealing with an injured wrist throughout the season, but it worsened recently. Hand specialist Dr. Thomas Varecka will perform the operation.

"It's more in the back of the hand, and he's got a tendon that is subluxing, which doesn't sound like a good thing," manager Paul Molitor said. "They think it's the right way to try to address it. So he'll stick around here for a month or so to rehab it before he heads home."

Park, who was a two-time MVP in the Korean Baseball Organization, was signed to a four-year, $12 million deal after the Twins submitted the winning bid of $12.85 million to the Nexen Heroes this offseason. He hit .191/.275/.409 with 12 homers and 24 RBIs in 62 games with the Twins before being optioned to Rochester in late June. He batted .224/.297/.526 with 10 homers and 19 RBIs in 31 games at Triple-A.

Park was placed on the Minor League disabled list on Aug. 15 with tendinitis in his right wrist and hasn't played since Aug. 10.

"It's been bothering me, not seriously, but the pain has been there from time to time," Park said through translator J.D. Kim. "After I got sent down to Rochester, the pain got a little worse. I thought it was time to get checked out, and here we are."

Park, who hit a combined 105 homers over his last two seasons in Korea, showed glimpses of that power this year, as he had nine homers in his first 29 Major League games. But he was mired in a 6-for-60 slump over his last 17 games with the Twins before being sent to Rochester.

He rebounded with an impressive stretch at Rochester that saw him hit nine homers in a 14-game stretch, including a three-homer game on July 28. But again he cooled off, going 4-for-39 before being placed on the DL.

"He had a couple stretches there that caught our attention in a good way," Molitor said. "But then he kind of reverted back to it being a struggle again before he was shut down."

Park admitted that the transition to the Majors and life in the U.S. was difficult, but said he remains optimistic about next season after finding out what it will take to succeed here. He said working on his timing will be important next year, and the fact that he saw so many new pitchers will only help him going forward.

"It was huge learning experience," Park said. "I was told coming in it was going to be different, but facing those guys it was really, really different. But I learned a lot from it. I try to stay positive. Whether it was here or Rochester, I took every day like it was a class. So now I know what I need to work on to prepare to come back strong next season."