I wrote of Chan Ho Park’s visa problems and Aaron Sele’s start today in The Journal News this morning. Take a read, thanks.
Visa issue has Park parked
By JOHN DELCOS
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: March 3, 2007)
JUPITER, Fla. – Let’s put it this way: They wouldn’t be the Mets if things went off without a hitch.
Chan Ho Park’s audition for the fifth-starter job was held up in red tape yesterday as the team was waiting approval of his work visa.
Park was scratched from his start against St. Louis, with the ball going to another rotation candidate, Aaron Sele.
“He’s not allowed to pitch in a game where admission is charged,’’ general manager Omar Minaya said, discussing why Park remained at the Mets’ camp in Port St. Lucie to throw two-plus innings in a minor-league game.
Park gave up one run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts, and manager Willie Randolph noted, “He has a very unique curveball. Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ It can be very sharp.’’
Sele started against the Cardinals and gave up a run on three hits in two innings.
“I’ve started on short notice before,’’ Sele said. “It was no big deal. Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ In spring training, you’re always trying to establish something, and today’s plan was to establish the fastball and change. This was just one step.’’
Sele said he wasn’t as consistent as he would have liked, but even so, was his step larger than Park’s because it came against a major-league team?
Minaya didn’t buy into that theory.
“He’s a veteran,’’ Minaya said of Park. “As long as he got his innings in, it doesn’t matter.’’
Park threw 35 pitches in two innings plus two extra hitters, and came away confident.
“I am sure I am going to have a good year,’’ Park said. “I feel strong and more relaxed. I’m not saying I’m going to be (the) Cy Young (winner), but I’m going to be a better pitcher than I was the last four, five years.’’
One would think a veteran such as Park, who goes through this every year, would have gotten this visa business settled a long time ago. But it doesn’t work that way.
The team, as the employer, is responsible for submitting the visa application. The Mets did so.
“But we signed him so late,” Minaya said. “We got him just before spring training.’’
The Mets are hopeful this will be resolved before Park’s next scheduled start four days from today.
“I hope it comes shortly,” Park said. “They are working on it. It has taken longer.’’
Park was 7-7 with a 4.81 ERA in 21 starts last season with San Diego, while Sele was 8-6 with a 4.53 ERA in 15 starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Considering the Mets used 13 different starting pitchers last season, would they take either production from their fifth starter this season?
Not necessarily, Randolph said.
“Because of their experience, I would be looking for more,’’ Randolph said. “If you don’t get much from the front end of your rotation, you might need more from your fifth starter. I don’t want to say I would settle for that.’’
With Mike Pelfrey’s start today against Los Angeles, all the fifth-starter candidates will have pitched either in an exhibition or intrasquad game.
Randolph refused to acknowledge if anybody has emerged, saying it is too early to make any substantial judgments.