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Foreign Players Struggling in Korean Baseball League

Posted May. 16, 2009 22:05,   


Tyrone Woods (Doosan Bears), Felix Jose (Lotte Giants), and Jay Davis (Hanwha Eagles).

These three used to be leading foreign players in Korean pro baseball thanks to their power hitting or pitching and charisma. For this reason, many Korean fans have good memories of them.

Many foreign players have left Korea after succeeding here, but that is not the story this season.

The SK Wyverns sent to the minors Chris Nitkowski, whom the team considered a starting lefthanded pitcher. Kadokura Ken, whom the team attracted after getting rid of Mike Johnson, is 2-1 but has been less than impressive.

Last season`s Korean Series runner-up Doosan Bears have no foreign players this year. Matthew Watson is showing signs of recovery after being sent to the minors, while Juan Cedeno, who joined the team afterwards, is not considered that good.

The Samsung Lions are unsatisfied with its two foreign pitchers whom the team considered key members. Francisco Cruceta is 2-2 while Runelvys Hernandez has all but disappeared after starting two games in April.

Hanwha has suffered a significant drop in capacity due to lackluster pitching and injuries to sluggers Kim Tae-kyun and Lee Beom-ho. The Eagles are also disappointed in its two foreign players, who have perform less than expected.

Victor Diaz, who showed power hitting early in the season, has been sent to the minors due to his poor defensive skills. Relief pitcher Bradley Thomas has had no chance to play as his team has suffered a string of losses. Even when he plays, he has failed to show the consistency of last season.

The only foreign players who are doing well are the LG Twins` Roberto Petagine and the Kia Tigers` Rick Guttormson. Petagine ranks first in on-base percentage (0.547) and second in batting average (0.421). Guttormson has started six games and owns a record of 4-1 with an earned run average of 2.48.

Certain managers say Korean teams should increase the annual salary cap of 300,000 dollars to recruit better foreign players. Even if the cap is lifted, however, it is difficult to bring in top-flight foreign players unless teams pay top dollar.