MINNEAPOLIS -- Byung Ho Park is making his way to the Twin Cities.
Park, the 29-year-old Korean first baseman/designated hitter with whom the Twins won negotiating rights on Nov. 9, is first flying to Chicago to meet with his agent, Alan Nero, before arriving in Minnesota this coming week. He held a news conference in Korea on Sunday before heading off to the United States. If all goes to plan, Park could sign with the Twins this coming week.
"I heard about the Twins' offer through my agent," Park told reporters, according to the Yonhap News Agency. "There are some things we need to go over with the club. I hope to be able to return with a positive result."
The Twins won the bid for Park with the Nexen Heroes for $12.85 million, but if Minnesota and Park can't come to terms, Nexen will not receive the posting fee. The deadline for the club to sign Park is Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. CT. The Twins, though, remain hopeful it won't come to that.
Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony has said the club is confident it can come to terms with Park.
"We wouldn't have bid on him if we didn't believe or hope that we could get him signed," Antony said earlier this month. "So there's no indications that we won't at this point."
Park is a two-time Most Valuable Player Award winner of the Korea Baseball Organization and combined to hit 105 homers with 270 RBIs in 268 games over the past two seasons for Nexen. He's expected to serve mostly as designated hitter for the Twins, and Park told reporters on Sunday that's he's fine with that role.
"I have no problem with being the DH," Park said. "Obviously, I prefer to take the field but I also have to make adjustments in a new environment."
Park also said he was encouraged by the success of Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang, who finished third in the balloting for National League Rookie of the Year. He said he'll have to make adjustments like Kang, especially with the higher velocities he'll face in the Majors, but Park said he's confident he'll be able to succeed.
"I'm going to have to face hard-throwing pitchers, and my ability to hit for power will make or break my big league career," Park said. "I will do the best I can, feeling proud of being in the league with the greatest players in the world. There will be difficulties along the way, but I will try to adjust."