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S. Korean baseball champs to hire Japanese instructor

All Headlines 09:31 December 31, 2012

SEOUL, Dec. 31 (Yonhap) -- The Samsung Lions, the two-time reigning South Korean baseball champions, said Monday they will soon hire their former Japanese pitcher as an instructor for next season.

The Lions, who won the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) titles in 2011 and 2012, said they're close to signing Ken Kadokura as an instructor for one year in 2013. Earlier Monday, Japanese news reports said Kadokura, who pitched for the Lions in 2011, will become a pitching coach for the KBO club next year.

According to a Samsung official, Kadokura will first serve as an instructor, rather than a full-time coach, because he has no prior coaching experience. Kadokura, who turns 40 next summer, recently announced his retirement.

The Lions have enjoyed success under another Japanese pitching coach, Eiji Ochiai, who left the team this winter after three seasons in South Korea. With Ochiai handling pitchers from 2010 to 2012, the Lions led the KBO in team ERA in each of those three seasons and won two championships.

Lions' manager Ryu Joong-il, a former All-Star shortstop who took the reins in 2011, gave Ochiai nearly full control of the pitching staff in the past two seasons.

Kadokura made his KBO debut with the SK Wyverns in 2009 and went 22-11 in two seasons there. He signed with the Lions in 2011 and was 5-6 in 16 games before leaving the club with a knee injury.

In 13 seasons in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the right-hander pitched for four clubs, including the Yomiuri Giants, going 76-82 with 10 saves and a 4.36 ERA.


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