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Pitchers implicated in match fixing released by team

All Headlines 17:49 March 06, 2012

SEOUL, March 6 (Yonhap) -- The LG Twins in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) on Tuesday released their two pitchers facing match-fixing allegations and asked the league to hand out lifetime bans if the players are criminally punished.

The Seoul-based Twins announced that pitchers Kim Seong-hyun and Park Hyun-jun are no longer on the team. They are being investigated for allegedly taking kickbacks from a gambling broker last season to issue first-inning walks on purpose.

Kim was recently taken into custody, while Park has been questioned by prosecutors in Daegu, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, without physical detention.

The Twins' decision comes one day after the KBO suspended the two players indefinitely. The club also said it will ask the league to ban Kim and Park for life if they receive criminal penalties.

"We offer our sincere apologies to our fans for causing such major disappointment and trouble," the Twins said in a statement. "We have made this decision before any judicial decision, but we believe players who've betrayed fans' trust should no longer take the ground."

In 2011, Park won 13 games to lead all LG pitchers. He issued 68 walks in 162 2/3 innings, 13 of them coming in first innings. Park was 13-10 with a 4.18 earned run average (ERA) and 137 strikeouts in his first season as a starter.

Kim, who joined the Twins as a mid-season trade from the Nexen Heroes, pitched 117 2/3 innings last year and threw 67 walks, 15 of which were issued in opening frames. He went 4-9 with a 5.43 ERA and 68 strikeouts.

The Twins drew the third most home fans in 2011 and have consistently been among the league's biggest attractions. But their on-field performances haven't matched their popularity in recent years. The Twins haven't made the postseason, open for four of the eight KBO teams, since 2002.

Meanwhile, Daegu prosecutors said Tuesday they will soon wrap up their investigation into match fixing in local sports. Before fixing allegations in baseball emerged, professional volleyball was hit with a similar scandal last month and more than a dozen active and retired volleyball players have been questioned.

Park Eun-seok, a senior prosecutor, told reporters that Daegu prosecutors will announce their findings sometime next week at the earliest. The two pitchers are expected to be indicted in the coming days.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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