The New York Mets held a press conference in its home stadium, Citi Field, on Wednesday amid heavy snow, to welcome the coming abroad of Taiwan-native infielder Chin-lung Hu, the first ever Taiwanese player in the team's franchise history.
"We are very glad to have Hu join our team," said Mets general manager Sandy Alderson in the press conference, adding that the decision was also very important to the community since his team is based in Flushing, New York, home to many Taiwanese immigrants.
"I think it's great that he represents a significant part of the community here. I certainly would not say that that had no impact whatsoever, but ultimately this was a baseball decision," he said.
"I didn't want Chin-lung to think that he had been brought in here for reasons other than his own ability and our sense that he can contribute to the team," Alderson added later.
Speaking at the press conference, Hu said he was also really excited to join the team after spending eight years with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He said he had visited the community before and felt at home when the Dodgers were in New York to play against the Mets.
"It's just like Taiwan," he said. "A lot of great Chinese food."
The 26-year-old Tainan native also noted that he was familiar with the team's manager Terry Collins, who used to be the Dodgers' minor-league field coordinator.
"He was with me for two years," Hu said of Collins. "He's a great coach. Everybody was scared of him. He's a disciplinarian, but he's good."
The Mets acquired Hu from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for a minor-league pitcher named Mike Antonini on Dec. 27, 2010.
Hu was signed by the Dodgers in 2003 and was seen as a highly regarded prospect for he was named MVP of the 2007 Futures Game. However, though Hu proved to be of value as a defensive replacement, he continued to struggle offensively.
In 96 games with the Dodgers from 2007 to 2010, he hit just .191.