Oh, back from Classic, strikes out two

Oh, back from Classic, strikes out two

JUPITER, Fla. -- Aside from still fighting a bit of jet lag, Seung Hwan Oh showed little indication that he spent the last three weeks away from team supervision and, much of it, on the other side of the world.

For as far as the Cardinals are concerned, Oh is right where he needs to be.

Manager Mike Matheny and his staff got their first look at Oh since late February when he entered to pitch the fourth inning of Thursday's 2-1 win over the Twins. Oh pitched a scoreless frame, bookending it with strikeouts. The only blemish was a two-out single.

"We've only had him for a year, but I think we all know what we're going to get there," Matheny said. "He's ready. We knew when we sent him to the WBC that he was going to be ready when he came back. He looks great."

Because the Korean team was ousted from the World Baseball Classic so early, the Cardinals will have plenty of time to observe Oh ahead of the regular season. He's already been named the team's closer, a deserving designation following a rookie season in which Oh saved 19 games and posted a 1.92 ERA.

Oh served in the same role for Korea earlier this month and logged 3 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out six. Despite Oh's individual success, however, the Korean club went 1-2 in pool play and did not advance past the first round.

"It was personally a great experience, and I was really happy to be in front of all the fans in Korea again," Oh said, speaking through a translator. "As a team, it wasn't what we hoped for. But personally, it was a great experience."

In terms of workload, the 5 1/3 innings Oh has combined to pitch in Florida and Korea this spring are right around the number the Cardinals would have wanted him to be at at this point in Grapefruit League play.

As for his World Baseball Classic experience, Oh had the distinction of becoming the first player to appear in the first four installments of the international tournament. It also afforded him the opportunity to pitch in his home country, where he last appeared in 2013.

This time, though, he noticed one difference.

"It was a good feeling to see a lot of Korean fans wearing Cardinals hats and Cardinals jerseys in the stadium," Oh said. "That was pretty cool."

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.