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Posted : 2007-12-07 19:16
Updated : 2007-12-07 19:16

Seo Returns to Korea


Former big leaguer Seo Jae-weong will pitch for his hometown team Kia Tigers from next season. / Korea Times File

By Kang Seung-woo
Staff Reporter

Former U.S. Major Leaguer Seo Jae-weong has signed with his hometown team Kia Tigers.

The team announced Friday that the two sides reached an agreement for a 1.5 billion won ($1.6 million) contract.

The money is 50 million won less than the amount his Tampa Bay teammate Choi Hee-seop received when he joined the Tigers in the middle of the season.

With the deal completed, the 30-year-old right-hander, who wrapped up his nine-year big league career, is expected to take a spot on the Tigers' rotation.

Seo, who was signed as a free agent by the New York Mets in 1998, has compiled 28-40 with a 4.60 ERA with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Mets.

After spending most of this season in the minors with the Durham Bulls, Seo has looked for a new team in the big leagues and in Japan. As there was little interest from both leagues he decided to return to Korea.

The Inha University standout started the season as the No. 2 pitcher for Tampa Bay but early shaky displays, 3-4 with a 8.13 ERA, let him down to Triple-A, where he posted 9-4 with a 3.69, leading his team to the International League champion.

``I wanted to wrap up my career on the Kia Tigers. I will try to lift the team to the league championship while leading young pitchers well,'' said Seo.

ksw@koreatimes.co.kr

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