The team lost 6-1, allowing Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi to cruise through 6.0 innings of low-stress work while the Rangers respective starter, Kohei Arihara, couldn’t even make it out of the third. The Red Sox launched a total of four home runs on the night, sending Texas home with their 16th loss of the season.
However, it wasn’t all bad. In fact, the Rangers actually saw some rather promising work from one of their less talked about lefty pitchers – former KBO star Hyeon-Jong Yang.
Pitching for just the second time as a member of the Rangers’ active roster, Yang gave the team 4.1 innings of work, allowing just two baserunners while striking out four. It’s also worth highlighting that Yang only threw 51 total pitches, a rather slim total considering how many outs he took down for the team on short notice.
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LHP Hyeon-Jong Yang impressed during the Texas Rangers’ Friday night loss.
Signed to a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training this past offseason, Yang was looking for a pathway into the major leagues. A former first-round pick by the Kia Tigers in 2007, Yang had pitched in Korea for 13 consecutive years, ending negotiations with the Tigers this past winter as he hunted further baseball-playing opportunity overseas.
While he obviously didn’t get any major league offers right off the bat (likely due to his age, he just turned 33), Yang’s deal with the Rangers might end up being a rather shrewd one. His MLB guarantee upon being called up off the Rangers’ alternate site only clocked in at $1.33 million, and thus far, he’s looked like a rather solid arm.
Yang’s first major league appearance came on April 26th, a game where he also effectively stretched out to pitch 4.1 innings out of the ‘pen. While he did get tagged for a pair of runs during said debut, he still only allowed five total baserunners. Not bad for a guy making his MLB debut against the Mike Trout led LA Angels at the age of 33.
With just 8.2 innings of major league experience under his belt, it’s obviously way too early to label Yang “good or “bad.” However, he’s undoubtedly a name worth keeping an eye on as the Rangers’ season continues to progress. I’d be shocked to see him sent back down to the alternate site anytime soon, and while the team’s starting rotation is pretty locked in at the moment, Yang getting a stab at starting a game isn’t out of the realm of possibility either.
After all, he was a rather dominant starting pitcher in the KBO.
For now, simply keep an eye on Yang and how he continues to work out of the bullpen. At the very least, the Rangers found themselves a half decent long-reliever that they can turn to on nights like Friday, an arm who can take down 4+ innings at a moment’s notice.