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Choi debuts in Korean baseball league

All Headlines 23:01 May 19, 2007

SEOUL, May 19 (Yonhap) -- Choi Hee-seop, former Tampa Bay Devil Rays infielder, made his debut in the Korean baseball league Saturday, but he was 0 for 5 at Chamsil Stadium.

Choi joined his home franchise baseball club, the KIA Tigers, with a one-year contract worth 1.5 billion won (US$1.6 million) on Monday.

"Big Choi" didn't record any hits during his five times at bat in the game with the Doosan Bears, but his popularity itself drew over 30,000 spectators to the stadium, where fans chanted his name.

"I think I was very nervous in the debut, and I need time to get used to the Korean ground," Choi said after his poor showing, adding that Korean pitchers are strong.

Choi spent two seasons with the Chicago Cubs in U.S. major league baseball before playing for the Florida Marlins in 2004 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005. He decided to return home after missing the 40-man roster of Tampa Bay early this season.

sungjin@yna.co.kr
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