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Reigning baseball MVP ready to start with clean slate

All Headlines 14:53 January 06, 2015

SEOUL, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- By all accounts, Nexen Heroes' second baseman Seo Geon-chang had a season to remember in 2014, setting Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) single-season records with 201 hits, 135 runs scored and 17 tripes, en route to winning his first MVP award.

For his accomplishments -- which included his first batting title with a .370 average -- Seo also grabbed multiple trophies at several year-end baseball awards.

Yet with the Heroes' spring training set to open next week, Seo said Tuesday he will forget about his past glory and start with a clean slate in the new season.

"I did win a lot of awards but I am staying grounded and not letting accolades go to my head," Seo told reporters after the Heroes held their first meeting of the new year at Mokdong Stadium in Seoul. "I am always being careful because I don't know when I might hit rock bottom."

Attending awards ceremonies and giving acceptance speeches kept the 25-year-old busy in the offseason, but Seo said he never missed his daily workouts.

"My workout schedule came before awards shows and other events," he said. "I trained two to three hours per day."

Seo had missed a big chunk of the 2013 season with injuries. In 2014, after improving his conditioning and adding bulk to his upper body, Seo played all 128 games.

With the addition of the expansion club KT Wiz this year, the KBO teams will each play 144 games. Seo said he will put a heavy emphasis on weight training midway through spring training, which will begin in Arizona on Jan. 16, before working on his techniques.

"I still have room for improvement," Seo said. "As far as technical aspects, I may have different ideas than coaches, and we'll have to sit down and talk about them."

Seo will likely have a different double play partner in 2015. Nexen's shortstop Kang Jung-ho was posted for Major League Baseball (MLB) clubs last month and drew a bid of about US$5 million from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The two sides have until Jan. 20 to work out a contract.

"Chemistry is crucial (between second baseman and shortstop) and I guess there could be some problems," Seo said. "I don't know who will play shortstop this year but I still have to do my job well at second base."

Seo had 201 hits in 128 games last year. If he can duplicate such production, Seo could break his own single-season hits record this year, with 16 more games scheduled for each team.

Seo said he will try not to get caught up in the numbers.

"I am going to go for 200 hits again but I don't feel a lot of pressure," he said. "When I get into the batter's box, I will forget about the number 200 and not think about trying to pick up hits. If I keep doing what I've done, hits will pile up eventually."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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