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Samsung Lions manager sets sights on fifth straight KBO title

All Headlines 15:45 February 02, 2015

SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) -- The Samsung Lions have won the past four South Korean baseball championships, and Ryu Joong-il, the team's manager, said Monday he has his sights set on a fifth consecutive title in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) this year.

"The goal this year again is to win the championship," Ryu said after returning home from the team's first spring training camp in Guam. "Hopefully, the players will be able to perform to their full capabilities without getting injured."

Ryu said he was "extremely satisfied" with how the training went in Guam.

"We spent about four days less in Guam than in the past, but we put in more work than before," the manager said. "We're asking the players to give an extra 10 percent this year. They trained hard and put themselves into great shape."

Before the 2014 season, the Lions lost their All-Star closer Oh Seung-hwan to free agency. This winter, they lost their No. 1 starter Rick van den Hurk, who signed with Japan's SoftBank Hawks after leading the KBO with a 3.18 ERA and 180 strikeouts in 152 2/3 innings. Two veteran pitchers, Bae Young-soo and Kwon Hyuk, also left as free agents.

In their stead, the Lions signed two foreign pitchers, Alfredo Figaro and Tyler Cloyd. Another pitcher, Jung In-wook, is rejoining the Lions after two years in the military.

"Figaro is a powerful pitcher, and Cloyd is excellent at managing the game," Ryu said. "Jung needs a bit more work. He has to step up his game this season."

The Lions will head to Okinawa, Japan, on Wednesday, for a month-long camp. They will also play nine preseason games there, including one against the Hanshin Tigers on Feb. 13.

"We have lost several players over the past couple of years," Ryu said. "We have to make sure the ones we do have can keep competing at a high level, and we must also push new players develop to help them reach the next level."

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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