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Rangers scout Korean pitcher Yoon

Rangers scout Korean pitcher Yoon

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are working out Korean free agent pitcher Suk-Min Yoon in Arizona and are among a half-dozen teams interested in signing him.

The Rangers' interest in the right-hander supposedly increased after Derek Holland underwent knee surgery last month; he will miss at least the first half of the season. But there is still some question if Yoon is ready to step into a Major League rotation and carry that burden for a full season.

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Yoon, pitching for the Kia Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organization, missed much of the first half of the season with a right shoulder injury. When he returned, the Tigers did not rely on him as much as they did in previous years.

He pitched in 30 games, including 19 in relief, and was 3-6 with a 4.00 ERA and seven saves. His best season was in 2011 when he went 17-5 with a 2.45 ERA while striking out 178 in 172 1/3 innings. He was also one of the top pitchers on a Korean team that won the gold medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and finished second in the World Baseball Classic.

The Orioles, Cubs, Twins and Giants are also looking hard at Yoon. The Rangers have been heavily involved in the Pacific Rim and have had scouts watching Yoon for the past two years.

The Rangers go into camp looking for a fifth starter and the leading candidates are right-handers Nick Tepesch and Colby Lewis, and left-hander Robbie Ross.

Yoon can be used both as a starter or a reliever. But right now he is telling clubs he wants to be used as a starter.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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