New bats in the top South Korean baseball league made a quick impact over the opening weekend of the season, providing a glimpse into what could be an exciting offensive season.
The Korea Baseball Organization clubs are now allowed to sign an extra foreign player starting this season. Eight of the nine teams can now have up to three foreigner players, while the expansion NC Dinos, which came into the league last year, can have up to four on their roster for their first two seasons.
At least one of such players must be a position player. During the winter, teams scrambled to add experienced hitters to their lineups, hoping to bolster their offense.
In 2012 and 2013, all foreign players in the KBO had been pitchers. Experts had predicted before the season that those hitters would alter the dynamics of the competition this year, but even they likely didn’t imagine the newcomers would start hitting right out of the gate.
Two established Major League Baseball hitters, Luke Scott of the SK Wyverns and Jorge Cantu of the Doosan Bears, went deep in their first KBO games on Saturday. Scott’s Wyverns, though, lost to the Nexen Heroes 8-3, but Cantu’s homer, a go-ahead three-run jack, proved to be decisive in Doosan’s 5-4 win over the LG Twins. On Sunday, more foreign bats helped their clubs win.
The Twins’ Josh Bell went 3 for 6 with a two-run homer in the third inning, as his club emerged a 14-4 winner over Doosan.
The Lions lost the season opener to the Kia Tigers 2-1 on Saturday, but Yamaico Navarro made sure the three-time defending champs wouldn’t lose the first two games of 2014. He hit a two-run homer as part of his 2 for 4 day with four RBIs on Sunday.
For the Kia Tigers, Brett Pill, making his KBO debut, hit a solo shot in the losing cause.
Felix Pie didn’t leave the park for the Hanwha Eagles, but still inflicted plenty of damage on the Lotte Giants in the Eagles’ 4-2 victory. The former big league outfielder went 2 for 5 with two RBIs and a steal, helping the Eagles win their first season opener in five years. (Yonhap)
LG Twins sign ex-big leaguer Teaford
The LG Twins have signed former big league pitcher Everett Teaford.
The club said on Sunday that it has inked the 29-year-old left-hander to a one-year deal worth $500,000.
Before the signing, the Twins had been the only club to not have filled their quota for foreign players for 2014.
Teaford pitched for the Kansas City Royals in each of the past three seasons and went 3-5 with a 4.25 ERA in 45 appearances. He made just one relief appearance last year in the majors. (Yonhap)