Donn Roach of the KT Wiz throws during the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) League spring exhibition game against the Samsung Lions at Daegu Samsung Lions Park on Tuesday. / Yonhap
By Baek Byung-yeul
After witnessing the big success of Dustin Nippert, last season's MVP of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), other teams in the league spent big money to import more talented foreign pitchers for the upcoming baseball season.
It has been only a week since the 10-team league started playing spring exhibition games and some of those imported pitchers have proven they are worthy of the effort while others haven't.
The Hanwha Eagles, who ranked seventh in the standings last season, spent big on their two former major league pitchers. The Daejeon-based team signed Alexi Orgando to a one-year contract worth $1.8 million and used $1.5 million to ink Carlos Villanueva.
Orgando, who made 283 major league appearances, compiling 33 wins and 18 losses with a 3.47 ERA, had his first outing against the KT Wiz on Saturday and threw a scoreless four innings with seven strikeouts and a walk.
Villanueva, who recorded 51 wins, 55 losses and 11 saves with an ERA of 4.27 in the majors, seems not to have adapted well to the new league. He made two appearances during the spring. In his first outing, the 33-year-old Dominican allowed one run with two hits while throwing three innings against the LG Twins on Tuesday and three runs in four innings against the Wiz on Sunday.
The Wiz signed a one-year deal worth $850,000 with right-hander Donn Roach.
Though the 27-year-old threw only 39 innings in the majors, the Suwon-based team, who mired in last place for the second consecutive year, expect big things from the American.
In his first outing on Tuesday, Roach allowed one run in five innings against the Samsung Lions and allowed only a run on Sunday against the Eagles while throwing five innings. The pitcher looked like a splitter-reliant ground-baller as he pitched 16 splitters among 82 pitches on Sunday.
Jeff Manship of the NC Dinos also seems to have adjusted to the new league as well. The former Cleveland Indians reliever signed a one-year deal worth $1.8 million with the Dinos and got off to a good start from the first spring game. Against the Lions, he had a scoreless five innings with three strikeouts.
The Lions, who struggled with poor performance of its foreign pitchers last season, brought two new faces for this season. Anthony Ranaudo, who had a one-year, $1.05 million deal, had a scoreless three innings against the Twins on Friday. Meanwhile the team's other new imported pitcher Zach Patrick struggled in his first spring outing, allowing three runs with six hits in four innings against the Twins on Thursday.