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(Yonhap Interview) Fun of baseball not lost on Lotte's Jim Adduci

All Headlines 18:16 April 01, 2016

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- At 30 years of age, Jim Adduci, outfielder for the South Korean baseball club Lotte Giants, knows he won't be playing the game forever.

This understanding of the finite nature of an athletic career is why Adduci, now in his second Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) season, wants to have fun while he can.

"I think people forget sometimes this is a game and it's meant to be played with fun," Adduci told Yonhap News Agency Friday, before the Giants took on the Nexen Heroes at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul to start their 2016 KBO season.

"I only have so much more time to play and help Lotte win," he added. "I am just really enjoying it here."

After spending parts of the 2013 and 2014 seasons with the Texas Rangers, Adduci joined the Giants before last season. With his hard-nosed playing style, he quickly endeared himself to the notoriously demanding fan base in Busan, the Giants' home some 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

Adduci didn't just play hard; he also produced some flashy numbers with 28 home runs, 106 RBIs, 24 steals and 105 runs scored. He batted .314/.384/.557. Adduci was one of four KBO players with at least 20 home runs and 20 steals.

Even though the Giants missed the postseason for the third straight season, it was virtually a no-brainer for them to retain Adduci for another season. The feeling was mutual.

"When the opportunity came to come back, I jumped at it because I had such a great experience last year off the field and on the field," Adduci said. "The culture here was something that I really enjoyed and my family really enjoyed it here, too. It was an easy decision to come back."

Along with Adduci, the Giants also retained their two other foreign players: Brooks Raley and Josh Lindblom, both starting pitchers. Lindblom led the rotation with 13 wins, a 3.56 ERA and 180 strikeouts in 210 innings, while Raley was second with 11 wins, a 3.91 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 179 1/3 innings.

Adduci said the three of them help each other both on and off the field. Now that he is adjusted to life off the field, Adduci said he'll be better able to focus on tasks on the field.

"It's about focusing on getting good pitches to hit," he said. "There are so many good pitchers in this league. They do a great job of controlling (their pitches). They go right after what I think sometimes is a hole in my swing. The league is tough. You have to be focused."

With the core of Adduci, Lindblom and Raley back after strong seasons and the addition of All-Star closer Son Seung-lak, the Giants could make another run at a postseason berth in 2016. They finished last in preseason but Adduci said he puts zero weight on that result.

"There's a long season ahead of us. If we can just take each pitch and concentrate and stay in the moment, we'll see what happens at the end," he said. "I think we should be in the playoffs. That's our expectation."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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