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Kia Tigers acquire ex-Japan league ace Houlton

Kia Tigers acquire ex-Japan league ace Houlton

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Published : 2014-01-02 14:34
Updated : 2014-01-02 14:34

The Kia Tigers in the top domestic baseball league announced Thursday they've signed former Japanese league ace D.J. Houlton.

The Korea Baseball Organization club said the 34-year-old American right-hander signed a one-year deal worth $250,000, along with a signing bonus of $50,000.

Houlton pitched sparingly for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Major League Baseball, but he's best known for his success in Nippon Professional Baseball, first with the SoftBank Hawks in the Pacific League and later with the Yomiuri Giants in the Central League.

Houlton led the Pacific League with 19 wins for the Hawks in 2011 and followed that up with 12 wins for the Giants in 2012.

In 2013, he was 9-4 with a 3.73 ERA in 18 starts for Yomiuri. In his six NPB seasons, Houlton went 63-39 with six saves and a 3.20 ERA.

The Tigers said Houlton mixes his fastball, clocking at around 145 kilometers per hour, with a changeup and curve.

Starting in 2014, KBO clubs are allowed to carry three foreign players on their active rosters, up from two in 2013. The expansion NC Dinos are granted four spots for imports.

Teams must include at least one position player. The Tigers have filled their quota with Houlton, right-hander Jairo Asencio and right-handed hitting Brett Pill, who has played first base, third base and left field in his big league career.

The Tigers, a trendy preseason pick to contend for the title in 2013, instead were a huge disappointment, finishing eighth among nine clubs at 51-74-3, a worse record than the first-year Dinos. (Yonhap News)

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