Oh pleased with Major League debut

Korean rookie walked two, fanned two in scoreless inning Sunday

Oh pleased with Major League debut

PITTSBURGH -- It wasn't your typical debut considering Seung Hwan Oh actually has more professional appearances than anyone on the Cardinals' pitching staff except Jonathan Broxton. But after 571 outings in Korea and Japan, Oh added Major League pitcher to his already decorated resume on Sunday.

Instead of pitching in the familiar ninth-inning spot, Oh, the Korea Baseball Organization's all-time saves leader, covered the seventh inning in the Cards' 4-1 loss to the Pirates on Opening Day.

Oh navigated through a scoreless seventh, issuing two walks before closing the frame with consecutive strikeouts of David Freese and Starling Marte. He exited with a keepsake ball from the appearance.

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"The Major League debut was great," Oh said, speaking through translator Eugene Koo. "The fact that I let the first hitter on with a walk was a little disappointing, but overall it was OK."

While assimilating to a new culture, familiarizing himself with new teammates and gauging new competition, Oh pieced together a strong Grapefruit League showing. It cemented his place as a late-inning option in a bullpen that will be without Jordan Walden for the foreseeable future.

Even though Oh earned his "Final Boss" nickname in Asia because of his dominance as a closer, the 33-year-old right-hander welcomes the role of serving as a bridge to Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.

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"Focusing on what I'm doing well or what I have done well in the past is the focus for me now," Oh said. "From a team standpoint, they didn't pick up someone who is a rookie or very young. They brought in someone who is already experienced."

Koo, who was jokingly described as a "forced best friend" in spring, made his debut on Sunday, as well, when he sprinted to the mound to help interpret during a visit from catcher Yadier Molina.

As for how that went?

"That was great," Koo laughed. "I'm glad I didn't trip."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.