Jacob Cruz had productive numbers of 22 dingers and 85 RBIs with a batting average of .321 for the Hanwha Eagles and will continue his carrer in Korea with the Samsung Lions in 2008. / Korea Times File
By Kang Seung-woo
In the era of high technology, reusing old stuff usually means being ``out of date.''
But the definition seems untrue for the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) because each team is looking to foreign players who have experience in the league rather than acquiring new faces.
The LG Twins have completed filling the two spots assigned to foreign players by signing two American pitchers, right-hander Jamie Brown and lefty Chris Oxspring.
Brown, 30, had two seasons with the Samsung Lions and recorded a 23-17 record ― 11 victories coming in 2006 and 12 in 2007 ― with a 3.01 ERA to lead the Lions in wins each year, while Oxspring, 30, who joined the Seoul-based Twins during the season in July, went 4-5 with a 3.24 ERA.
With the agreement, Brown became a fourth Lions imported player to move to the Twins, following Charles Smith in 2000, Manny Martinez in 2002 and Tim Harikkala in 2007.
``It is not risky to bring Brown because he has already vindicated he is effective in Korea,'' the Twins said. ``Jamsil Stadium is much bigger than Daegu Stadium, so he will be able to throw more with comfort.''
The Lions, based in Daegu, acquired lefty-swinging Jacob Cruz of the United States from the Hanwha Eagles. Even though his chronic Achilles tendon injury and sluggish exhibition in the postseason caused the Eagles to release him, his prolific stats of 22 home runs and 85 RBIs ― both categories ranking in the top five ― with a batting average of .321, are enough to attract the offense-poor Lions.
The Doosan Bears, likely to lose pitcher Daniel Rios to a Japanese club, plan to bring former Bear Gary Rath back to the Korean league. The left-hander played in Korea for three years, two of them with the Bears, and topped the league in wins with 17 in 2004 and also gained 16 in 2002.
This kind of phenomenon is likely to continue because teams have suffered setbacks with their new imports, even though they had high-profile careers. It has been common that former U.S. Major Leaguers leave Korea even before playing their final game of the season.
In addition, as released players sometimes revive their careers with another team ― like Rios, Rath, Tilson Brito, Mark Keeper and Martinez ― each club sets its eye on players active in Korea.