About a week ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cubs pitching prospect Dae-Eun Rhee. Rhee is in his first full season with the Cubs, and is off to a great start. Getting an interview done was the hard part, considering he does not speak English. But thanks to Nathan and Mr. Sung of the Cubs, we got the interview done just in time. I wish him the best of luck and hope the Cubs can make it to the playoffs behind manager Ryne Sandberg.
ELI: When did you first start playing baseball in South Korea?
DAE-EUN: I started playing when I was eleven but I was in the infield. When I was thirteen I switched to pitcher.
ELI: How popular is baseball in South Korea?
DAE-EUN: It is the most popular sport in Korea.
ELI: Is there a player playing in the Major leagues that you try to model your game off of?
DAE-EUN: Chan Ho Park.
ELI: Any particular reason?
DAE-EUN: Because he is the most successful pitcher in the major leagues from Korea.
ELI: Has it been a dream of yours to come to the United States to play baseball?
DAE-EUN: Yes, of course. Since I was a kid.
ELI: Can you take me through the process of how you were signed by the Cubs? Had you heard of them before?
DAE-EUN: It happened in April of 2007 when I met with a scout from the Cubs. We stayed in touch through the signing date and then I signed.
ELI: Baseball is somewhat a universal language, do you have trouble communicating with your catcher on the mound or in the clubhouse?
DAE-EUN: It really was not much of a problem. Yeah, no problem.
ELI: What is Ryne Sandberg like in the clubhouse?
DAE-EUN: He is a great manager. He trusts his players and he lets them play -- just go out and play.
ELI: You are off to a good start so far, what has been working for you thus far?
DAE-EUN: I have been able to keep my strikes in the bottom part of the strike zone. I have always been good with my command, and it is showing so far.
ELI: What would you say is your strongest pitch?
DAE-EUN: My change-up.
ELI: You had a minor injury early in the season, what was the recovery process like for you?
DAE-EUN: It really was not bad. I was off the mound for about ten days and then I started throwing from flat ground again. It was not serious at all. It was my first time in the rotation so I think my arm was a little tired. But I am okay now.
ELI: Aside from baseball, what have you enjoyed most about the U.S.?
DAE-EUN: I have really enjoyed hanging with some of my teammates. But I also enjoy video games.
ELI: Your mechanics are very good, is that something you have worked on for a long time?
DAE-EUN: I have worked on it since I was young. It was more than just going out and throwing, it was about doing it properly.
ELI: Have you set any goals for yourself this season?
DAE-EUN: I hope to just complete the season without further injury.