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Kim Byung-hyun joins Nexen

Kim Byung-hyun, a former All-Star closer in Major League Baseball, has signed with a South Korean club.

The Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization announced that they have inked the right-handed submariner to a one-year deal worth 500 million won ($436,870), with a club option for 100 million won. The team also gave him 1 billion won as a signing bonus.

Kim, who turns 33 on Thursday, played for the Rakuten Eagles in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball last season and was released in November.

The Heroes earned the right to sign Kim in a special draft for overseas-based players in 2007. Back then, the franchise was called the Hyundai Unicorns. The team collapsed under financial pressure in 2008 and was renamed the Heroes under new corporate ownership.

The Heroes said they had been trying to acquire Kim since 2009, when the pitcher was struggling to stay in the majors.

“It’s been a long struggle, and I am happy to see a good result from this,” said Lee Jang-seok, the team president. “Acquiring Kim is part of our efforts to make Nexen a stronger ball club.” 

(Yonhap News)