Nothing is going to stop South Korean pitcher Oh Seung-Hwan from chasing his American baseball dream—not even a punishment from Korea’s top pro baseball league in connection with his gambling escapade in Macau.
The embattled former Samsung Lion player has signed with the St. Louis Cardinals for one year with a club option for a second year, Yahoo! Sports reported on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old, who had 357 career saves, ended his 2015 with 41 saves, and the Cardinals are looking at him “as a reliever who’ll get the ball” to Trevor Rosenthal, the team’s own record-setting closer. Oh’s stellar performance in Japan has earned him two nicknames: “Final Boss” and “Stone Buddha.”
Oh said during Tuesday’s press conference that playing in the major leagues has been a dream that came true for him.
The pro baseball player was quoted by Yahoo! Sports saying: “I’ve achieved everything in Korea and Japan as a closer. I wanted a new environment and was looking for motivation.”
That’s good news for Oh, who is facing serious punishments in South Korea for gambling illegally in Macau.
Oh and Lim Chang-yong, another ex-Samsung Lions player, were recently ordered by the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) to pay a fine of KRW 7 million ($5,800) after prosecutors decided their actions constituted a summary offense, Korea Joongang Daily reported.
The two free agents were also banned for half of their team’s games if they decide to return to the KBO League, according to the report.
Back in December, Oh admitted to borrowing chips worth “some hundreds of millions of won” in Macau, but said the number of times he gambled and the amount he wagered were “insignificant.”
During Tuesday’s press conference in the United States, Oh said he wasn’t aware that what he did in Macau was considered illegal back home. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said “the sides came to an agreement before that suspension was announced.”