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KBO club manager resigns after health scares

A South Korean baseball club manager has resigned after experiencing health scares amid a disappointing season.

The SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said Friday that Youm Kyoung-youb has decided to step down after two seasons on the bench. The 52-year-old had one more year left in his contract.

Youm fell ill and briefly lost consciousness during a game on June 25. Doctors later pointed to excessive stress, lack of sleep and poor diet as causes for Youm's health problems.

Bench coach Park Kyung-oan served as interim manager during Youm's absence. Youm returned to the dugout on Sept. 1 but lasted only five games before experiencing another bout of health issues that forced him to sit out for the rest of the year.

"I'd like to apologize to SK fans for letting them down," Youm said in a statement released by the club. "I am especially sorry that I was absent during the season. I felt like this was the time for me to take responsibility and leave."

Youm first joined the Wyverns as general manager in 2017. He oversaw the Wyverns' championship run in 2018, and then took over from Trey Hillman as the bench boss starting in the 2019 season.

The Wyverns reached the postseason last year but will finish in ninth place among 10 clubs this regular season, which concludes Friday.

They were in first place for most of the 2019 season, but they were passed by the Doosan Bears for the top seed on the final day of the regular season. The Wyverns' bats went cold in the second half and never got hot again in the postseason, as they bowed out to the Kiwoom Heroes in the second round.

Before this year, the Wyverns lost two key pitchers, including franchise icon Kim Kwang-hyun, who signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in December. Their two new foreign pitchers, Nick Kingham and Ricardo Pinto, didn't pan out, and the offense continued to struggle. The Wyverns suffered a 10-game losing streak in the first month of the season in May and never climbed out of that early hole.

The Wyverns said Youm had wanted to return for next year but ultimately decided against it because of his poor health.

The Wyverns recently signaled a major shakeup, having hired former general manager Min Kyung-sam as new president. (Yonhap)
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Korea Herald daum