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Baseball star Lee Jong-Bum likely to return home

Posted April. 10, 2001 18:12,   


Former Korean pro baseball star Lee Jong-Bum, 31, of Japan`s Junichi Dragons is likely to return home to play in the Korean league.

Lee formally asked Junichi`s president to release him. Sun Dong-Reol, former ace pitcher and present publicity officer for the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), is to visit Japan next week to attempt to persuade Lee to play at home.

Sun attended Kwangju Cheil High School eight years ahead of Lee and the two played together on the Haitai Tigers and Junichi. Sun said he plans to meet with Lee and with Junichi team officials as an honorary player on the club, indicating the possibility that there Lee may be freed to return home.

Sun admitted that Lee is already resolved to leave Junichi and that he thinks Lee`s return to the Korean league would be good for Korean pro baseball.

Meanwhile, negotiations on the sale of the Haitai Tigers, which hold the right to re-sign Lee, are expected to accelerate. Lee now receives 80 million yen (about 800 million won) in yearly salary. His annual pay at home is likely to soar to 500 to 600 million won, far more than the 300 million won paid to Samsung Lions slugger Lee Seung-Yuop.

Zang Hwan-Soo zangpabo@donga.com