Back To Top

Ex-MLB player signs with Korean team

A former Major League Baseball slugger and an All-Star pitcher from Japan will play in the top South Korean league in 2011.

The Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization announced Friday that they have signed Ryan Garko and Satoru Kanemura for next season. Each of the eight KBO clubs can carry two foreign players.

The Lions said Garko signed for $250,000 plus a $50,000 signing bonus. Kanemura will earn 20 million yen ($238,740) for the 2011 season.

Garko is a right-handed batter who played for the Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers from 2005 to 2010.

In 2007, he hit a career-high 21 home runs and drove in 61 runs, hitting .289 at the plate. The following year, the 29-year-old slipped to 14 homers but set his personal best with 90 runs batted in.

Despite being a catcher at Stanford University, Garko played first base and outfield in the majors. Over his six-year career, he had 55 home runs and 250 RBI in 463 games. He was a teammate of South Korean outfielder Choo Shin-soo in Cleveland from 2006 to 2009.

The right-hander Kanemura is a three-time All-Star in the Nippon Professional Baseball, the top baseball league in Japan. He made his debut in 1995 with the Nippon Ham Fighters and was traded to the Hanshin Tigers after the 2007 season. (Yonhap News)

In 1998, the 34-year-old led the Pacific League, one of two divisions in the NPB, with a 2.73 earned run average.

Kanemura was an All-Star in 1998, 2004 and 2005, and from 2002 to 2005, he posted double digits in victories.

In 271 career NPB games, Kanemura recorded 89 wins, 81 losses and two saves with a 3.89 ERA. (Yonhap News)