Instead, a connection he formed with righty Adam Wainwright helped him battle loneliness and isolation in a new place.
"To be honest, it was a difficult time," Kim said through an interpreter, according to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Fortunately, Waino was here, too."
If there wasn't a catch partner available and "Waino was not here, I really thought about going back to Korea," he adds.
Wainwright trained with Kim during the shutdown. They played backyard catch, and Kim met the veteran's family at a distance. Wainwright said he wanted to make sure his new teammate felt at home in a foreign land.
"As a guy who has a bunch of kids himself, I know that’s really hard for him," Wainwright said. "The other part of it is he comes to a new league, he doesn’t know anybody, no friends here in St. Louis. And it’s not like you can go out and sightsee. Everything’s closed. You can’t go to all the cool restaurants.
"Everything is a little different for him to begin with. Then, you add on top of that that he hasn’t been able to see his wife and kids. It’s been a hard time for him. But he’s taken it well. He’s got a great attitude about everything."
The Cardinals signed Kim to a two-year, $8-million contract this past offseason after he spent parts of 12 campaigns with the SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization. He went 136-77 with a 3.27 ERA and 1.33 WHIP over 1,673 2/3 innings.