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Doosan Bears to release Venezuelan pitcher SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- Only three games into the 2011 season, the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) are set to release one of their two foreign players, the team's manager said. Venezuelan pitcher Ramon Ramirez hasn't thrown a single pitch in the regular season, but his

All Headlines 09:22 April 06, 2011

SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- Only three games into the 2011 season, the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) are set to release one of their two foreign players, the team's manager said.

Venezuelan pitcher Ramon Ramirez hasn't thrown a single pitch in the regular season, but his struggles in preseason have manager Kim Kyung-moon looking for a new option.

"We're searching for a new foreign player to replace Ramirez," Kim said prior to the Bears' 4-3 defeat to the Nexen Heroes Tuesday.

Ramirez, 28, signed a one-year deal in February worth US$250,000 with another $50,000 in signing bonus, after toiling in the U.S. major and minor leagues. In two preseason appearances, Ramirez threw only 5 1/3 innings and gave up 14 earned runs on 16 hits and nine walks, for an earned run average of 23.63.

Ramirez failed to make the opening day roster and the Bears sent him down to the minors. The right-hander was equally disappointing in his one minor league exhibition match, allowing five runs on 11 hits in four innings.

"The problem isn't so much that he conceded five runs, but that he gave up two hits per inning," Kim said. "If he does that in the minors, we can't use him in the big leagues. We're looking forward to signing a good one soon."

Teams in the KBO can carry up to two foreign players. The league first allowed teams to import players in 1998. There's a salary cap of $300,000 per foreign player. After two foreigners are signed, teams can make up to two changes during the season.

In the past, foreign players often have had a considerable impact on their teams' pitching or offense. While most have been journeymen who'd spent much of their time in the American minor leagues, some with Major League Baseball experience have also played here. Julio Franco, the 1991 American League batting champion and a three-time All-Star, is among the high-profile ex-major leaguers in the KBO, having played for the Samsung Lions in 2000.

This season, 14 of 16 foreign players -- including Ramirez -- are pitchers. Six of those pitchers were opening day starters last Saturday.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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