After rejoining his former South Korean team following an unsuccessful U.S. minor league season in the Baltimore Orioles system, right-hander Yoon Suk-min put the blame squarely on himself for his failure to reach the majors.
Yoon arrived at Incheon International Airport Friday, hours after the Kia Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization announced their signing of the pitcher to a four-year, 9 billion won ($8.2 million) contract. It's the largest contract ever handed out to a free agent in the KBO, and ended Yoon's stay in the United States after 13 months.
Yoon, who'd signed a three-year deal with the Orioles in February last year, never pitched in the majors. He made 23 appearances, 18 of them starts, with the O's Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, and had a 4-8 record with a 5.74 ERA.
"There wasn't any particular reason that I struggled in the U.S.," Yoon told reporters. "I just didn't play well. I have nothing else to say."
Yoon wasn't invited to the Orioles' spring training last month and has been working on his own. He said he has thrown a few bullpen sessions and should be ready to pitch sometime during the KBO preseason, which starts Saturday.
Now that he's back, the 2011 KBO MVP said he will only look forward from here and on.
"No matter what the reason, I've made a decision to come back," Yoon added. "I will try to do the best I can and not have any regrets."
He is joining a team that has missed the playoffs for the past three years. The Tigers were considered an also-ran for 2015 but adding Yoon to the rotation could make them a sleeper.