BRADENTON, Fla. — Ji-Man Choi is off to a rough start with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and he hasn’t even taken part in his first spring training workout.
A three-person arbitration panel ruled in the Pirates’ favor Friday in their hearing with the first baseman. Choi will have a $4.65-million salary after he had asked for $5.4 million.
That comes a week after the Pirates would not grant Choi permission to play for his native South Korea in the World Baseball Classic next month. The Pirates are wary of Choi playing in high-intensity games so soon after under arthroscopic elbow surgery in November.
The Pirates acquired Choi from the Tampa Bay Rays on Nov. 10 in a trade for minor-league pitcher Jack Hartman. Last season, Choi hit .233/.341/.388 with 11 home runs in 113 games.
Choi, 31, is entering his eighth major league season. Before spending the previous four seasons with the Rays, Choi also played for the Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers.
Choi made his first appearance at the Pirates’ spring training camp Friday, though he did not take part in workouts.