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Six foreign pitchers to start on season opening day

All Headlines 10:55 March 29, 2013

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, March 29 (Yonhap) -- A record-tying six foreign pitchers will be among the eight opening day starters this weekend in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), teams announced Friday.

Eight of the nine KBO clubs will start their 2013 season on Saturday, while the expansion NC Dinos will play their first-ever KBO game Tuesday.

Of the eight teams in action, only two will start home-grown pitchers. In 2010, teams also started six foreign pitchers on opening day.

KBO teams are allowed to carry two foreign players each, with the exception of the Dinos, who have signed three players from overseas in a special benefit granted to the expansion team. For the second consecutive season, every foreign player in the KBO is a pitcher.

The Samsung Lions, the two-time league defending champions, will start right-hander Bae Young-soo against the Doosan Bears at home in Daegu. The Bears will counter with a former Major League Baseball (MLB) righty Dustin Nippert.

Nippert is making his third consecutive opening day start. In his past two seasons, the six-year MLB vet has gone 26-16 with a 2.88 ERA.

Bae, a former KBO MVP, is making his third opening day start. He bounced back in 2012 from extended rehab for an elbow operation, going 12-8 with a 3.21 ERA.

The SK Wyverns, the runners-up to the Lions in each of the past two seasons, will put left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes on the mound to face the LG Twins at home in Incheon. The Twins will start right-hander Radhames Liz.

Reyes, who has pitched for three different MLB clubs, is making his KBO debut. Liz, now in his third season in South Korea, has returned to the starting rotation after spending last season as a closer.

In Gwangju, the home team Kia Tigers will pit right-hander Henry Sosa against the Nexen Heroes' right-hander Brandon Knight.

Sosa went 9-8 with a 3.54 ERA after joining the Tigers midseason last year. Knight, in his fourth KBO season, was 16-4 in 2012 with the league-best 2.20 ERA and 208 2/3 innings pitched.

In Busan, the Lotte Giants will host the Hanwha Eagles. South Korean right-hander Song Seung-jun will make his second straight opening day start for the Giants. The Eagles will have Denny Bautista, who'd spent seven seasons in the majors before joining the KBO club last July. The one-time closer converted to a starting pitcher during last season


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