South Korean relief pitcher Lim Chang-yong, having been released by his Japanese club, will decide on his future early next month, his agent here said Friday.
The 36-year-old submarine closer was recently released by the Yakult Swallows in the Central League of the Nippon Professional Baseball. Now free to sign with any team, Lim could return to the Central League or even test the market in Major League Baseball, said agent Park Yoo-hyun.
“A U.S. team has expressed interest in Lim Chang-yong,” Park said. “We’re weighing a number of options, including whether to stay in the Central League or to try to reach MLB.”
Major league teams are expected to begin signing players from overseas after the end of their annual winter meetings on Dec. 6.
Lim underwent an operation to repair a torn ligament in his right elbow in July this year and missed the rest of the NPB season.
He could remain out of action until July next year.
His contract with the Swallows expired at the end of the 2012 season and the team declined to exercise its option for 2013. He made 360 million yen ($4.4 million) this year.
Lim left the Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization after the 2007 season and joined the Tokyo-based Swallows in 2008.
He has racked up 128 saves in Japan, most by a South Korean pitcher there, but didn’t record a save in nine appearances this year before coming down with the elbow injury.
Lim has an 11-13 win-loss record with a 2.09 ERA in Japan. He struck out 231 batters in 233 innings for the Swallows.
The operation, commonly known as Tommy John Surgery, was Lim’s second of his career. After his first surgery in 2005, Lim needed about two years to recover his dominant form that saw him lead the KBO in saves in three different seasons. (Yonhap News)