The kid also played a smooth center field after replacing Adam Jones. He really does look like a keeper.
Hyun Soo Kim collected two hits and is now 5-for-34 this spring, with one walk and two hit by pitches. He has five hits in his last 10 at-bats and he’s reached base in eight of his last 16 plate appearances.
“I talked to him a little yesterday when we got back,” Showalter said. “Not him, but his interpreter (Danny Lee) and him. It’s tough with interpreters, because most of them haven’t played the game. It’s kind of like the context that you’re putting something in in baseball mentality, you don’t always know if it’s being translated. And it’s tough. Sometimes the translator you have means a lot. We found that with (Wei-Yin) Chen.
“Having (Hee-seop) Choi there in the meeting last night (helped). His English isn’t a whole lot better, but at least he comprehends what I’m trying to get across to (Kim). If he fires a fastball down the left field line, that’s OK.”
Kim worked the count and collected two hits - and infield single and a ball that deflected off the glove of leaping shortstop Jordy Mercer.
“I was showing him some tape last night of his at-bats in Korea and he actually had two or three of those at-bats today just like that, so I don’t expect him to come out here and take batting practice like that group he was in,” Showalter said. “Looking back on it, probably wasn’t a good idea. But today was the first time, not the first time, but overall at-bats looked like the guy that we had seen. I’m anxious to see where it goes, but he had a good look in his eye today.”
Kevin Gausman tossed three scoreless innings before allowing three runs in the fourth. Andrew McCutchen hit a towering two-run homer after a walk to Francisco Cervelli.
“Good, good, especially the first three innings,” Showalter said. “He hung one breaking ball. Couldn’t have drawn it up much better except for maybe the last inning. I think he got challenged a little bit physically. That’s about as hot a day as you want to play in spring training.”
Leave it to Gausman to know exactly what he did wrong with McCutchen and how to correct it.
“He’s a perfectionist type, almost to a fault,” Showalter said. “It’s not good enough. He’s a tough grader of himself. That’s why you trust that he’s got a chance to be as good as he’s capable of being.”
Gausman was angrier at the walk than the home run, which Showalter understood.
“Good hitters, you try to minimize the damage, but it’s usually the people in front of them that cause the problem. And that’s probably what he’s talking about,” Showalter said.
Dylan Bundy retired six of seven batters and struck out McCutchen on a 95 mph fastball. He also blew two 94 mph heaters past McCutchen.
“I thought Bundy threw the ball real well, too,” Showalter said. “That’s about Dylan’s best ... I talked to him a little bit today about his tempo. I thought his tempo was a lot better. And I know after his last outing he was really wanting to get extended, which we were able to do today. That was good to see, Dylan and Gaus throwing the ball.”
T.J. McFarland retired all three batters he faced in his first appearance since March 6. The left elbow is fine.
“It was good to get Mac out there,” Showalter said. “He was crisp and felt real good afterward, so that’s a good sign.”
Pirates starter Juan Nicasio struck out 10 batters in four innings.
“That guy, he’s going to have a tough time to make their club, I’m told,” Showalter said. “That’s pretty good stuff there. That was legit, OK? Sometimes, you go, ‘Geez, we’re not swinging the bats well today.’ Well, sometimes it’s the pitcher.”
Nicasio will break camp with the Pirates, but he most likely will be boxed out of the rotation because of Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, Jon Niese, Jeff Locke and Ryan Vogelsong. He can be a multi-inning reliever while waiting for a chance to start.