The Korea Herald


KBO suspends 3 minor leaguers for physical abuse of teammates

By Yonhap

Published : July 19, 2023 - 20:18

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Emblem of the SSG Landers inside the Korea Baseball Organization headquarters in Seoul. (Yonhap) Emblem of the SSG Landers inside the Korea Baseball Organization headquarters in Seoul. (Yonhap)

The South Korean baseball league on Wednesday imposed lengthy bans on three minor league players for the physical abuse of their teammates.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) handed down a 72-game ban on SSG Landers minor league pitcher Lee Won-joon, while banning their minor league infielder Lee Geo-yeon and outfielder Choi Sang-min for 30 games each.

The KBO had been investigating the abuse cases since last week.

According to the KBO, the incident took place in the Landers' minor league complex in the western city of Incheon.

Lee Geo-yeon, 26, got upset with an unidentified rookie for unspecified reasons and gathered several younger players to give them a military-style, mass punishment on July 6. Afterward, Lee Won-joon, 25, struck the rookie in question with a baseball bat for causing such punishment.

Then Choi, 23, gathered junior teammates again for another round of group punishment after learning of Lee Won-joon's action.

The Landers said a minor league coach belatedly learned of the case after checking in on the rookie for health issues.

The KBO decided not to fine or impose any other form of penalty on the Landers, since they took prompt action in reporting the incident to the league office and cooperated with the ensuing investigation. The team received a warning instead.

The Landers had already released Lee Won-joon last Thursday. The KBO prohibits clubs from imposing their own penalties on players already disciplined by the league, so that they can't be punished twice for the same offense. But the league had told the Landers that releasing a player doesn't constitute double punishment.

Under KBO rules, a player who has committed a violent act against teammates may be suspended for at least two months or 50 games, or may be fined at least 5 million won (US$3,950).

In July 2020, while the Landers were called the SK Wyverns under different ownership, four of their minor league players were penalized for hitting teammates and driving under the influence of alcohol. The Wyverns were also fined for not reporting the case to the league immediately.

Lee Won-joon was a victim three years ago. (Yonhap)