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Baseball's Nexen promotes third base coach Yeom Kyung-yup to manager

All Headlines 08:28 October 10, 2012

SEOUL, Oct. 10 (Yonhap) -- The Nexen Heroes in South Korea's top baseball league on Wednesday promoted their third base coach Yeom Kyung-yup to manager.

The Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced that Yeom signed a three-year deal, worth 200 million won (US$180,000) per season with a signing bonus of another 200 million won. This will be the first managerial job for the 44-year-old.

"I'd like to thank the team for giving me this opportunity," Yeom said. "I will try to name my coaching staff as soon as possible. My focus will be to determine roles for each individual player and set the direction for this team."

Yeom played 10 KBO seasons as a scrappy infielder for the Incheon-based Taepyungyang Dolphins, which in 1996 became the Hyundai Unicorns under a new ownership. The Heroes replaced the cash-strapped Unicorns before the 2008 season.

After retiring in 2000, Yeom joined the Unicorns' front office and later served as their defensive coach in 2007. He moved over to the LG Twins in Seoul in 2008, working as their scout, head of baseball operations and finally their defensive coach. Yeom joined the Heroes this year to handle base running instruction.

Under his guidance, the Heroes went from the KBO-worst 99 steals in 2011 to the league-leading 179 steals this year.

First baseman Park Byung-ho and shortstop Kang Jung-ho became the seventh pair of teammates to join the "20-20" club, with at least 20 home runs and 20 steals in the same season. Rookie second baseman Seo Geon-chang finished second in the league with 39 swipes.

Yeom will be tasked with bringing more consistency to a team that began this season on fire only to fade away in the second half.

The Heroes were the biggest surprise of the KBO early on, reaching first place thanks to the franchise-record eight-game winning streak in May. They ended the first-half in third place.

Injuries to key players in the second half deflated their hopes for a playoff appearance, ultimately leading to the dismissal of their manager Kim Si-jin in September. The Heroes, which closed out the season with bench coach Kim Sung-kap as the interim manager, ended in sixth place with 61 wins, 69 losses and three ties. It was their highest win total in their existence.

"Starting next year, we no longer want to be called the dark horse," Yeom said. "I want to build a strong contender with great strategies and teamwork."

The Heroes boast two most valuable player (MVP) nominees, first baseman Park and starting pitcher Brandon Knight. Seo, the speedy second baseman, is a shoo-in for the Rookie of the Year honors.


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