The South Korean baseball league champions Doosan Bears have signed a contract with a pitcher who had been investigated by local prosecutors for illegal gambling last year.
The Bears, the winners of the 2016 Korean Series in the Korea Baseball Organization, said Thursday they inked a contract with Jin Ya-gob for the 2017 season on April 17. The KBO said it has already notified the Bears' signing to nine other clubs last week.
In this file photo taken on May 19, 2016, Doosan Bears pitcher Jin Ya-gob makes a pitch during the Korea Baseball Organization game between the Doosan Bears and the Kia Tigers at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)
Jin was investigated by prosecutors last year for placing a 6 million won ($5,310) bet on an illegal gambling website in 2011.
The 28-year-old, however, didn't face legal punishment since the statute of limitations on his case had expired.
The KBO last month meted out its own punishment against Jin with a 20-game suspension. It also slapped the Bears with a fine of 20 million won for playing Jin in the games even though they knew the left-handed pitcher had a gambling issue.
Jin had been the only pitcher on the Bears' squad without a contract for the 2017 season. He was also excluded from the Bears' spring training camp roster earlier this year.
The KBO said Jin's 20-game ban started from April 14 since he was registered as a contracted player from that day. His suspension is expected to end on May 6 if the games are not postponed due to rain or other reasons. However, his season debut could be late since the Bears also ordered him to complete 120 hours of community service.
Jin joined the Bears in 2008. He went 5-2 with a 4.94 ERA in 55 games last year before being dropped from the squad for a gambling scandal. (Yonhap)