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(LEAD) Baseball pitcher summoned for involvement in match-fixing scheme

All News 13:47 July 25, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with league's punishment in para 8)

UIJEONGBU, South Korea, July 25 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean baseball pitcher who voluntarily reported that he had engaged in a match-fixing scheme in 2014 was summoned by police Monday.

The Gyeonggi Bukbu Provincial Police Agency said Yoo Chang-sik, a left-handed pitcher for the Kia Tigers, appeared before investigators with an official from the club to be questioned over the irregularities.

The summons came a few days after the pitcher confessed to his team on Saturday that he had deliberately walked a batter in a game on April 1, 2014. Yoo, 24, was then pitching for another club, the Hanwha Eagles, and he walked the Samsung Lions No. 3 hitter, Park Sok-min, in the top of the first inning.

Yoo was allegedly asked by a gambling broker to issue a free pass in the opening frame, and was paid 5 million won (US$4,400) for his efforts. Police suspect that a retired baseball player, whose identity was withheld, played a role in the process.

Yoo earned 64 million won in salary in 2014. He debuted with the Eagles as the first overall pick in 2011 but was traded to the Tigers in May last year.

Police said they will grill the 24-year-old over whether he was involved in other wrongdoing besides the reported match.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) earlier said it has informed police of Yoo's role in the scheme, and added it will actively cooperate with any further investigation.

Later Monday, the KBO announced it has suspended Yoo from all baseball-related activities. He will also not be paid during his suspension. The KBO said it will determine further course of action depending on the result of the ongoing investigation.

Yoo is the third KBO player to come under match-fixing investigations this month, after Lee Tae-yang, pitcher for the NC Dinos in the KBO, and outfielder Moon Woo-ram, who's playing for the military club Sangmu in the Futures League, the KBO's minor league.

Lee has been indicted without physical detention for allegedly taking cash in exchange for issuing walks in games last season. Moon, who's under contract with the Nexen Heroes but is doing his mandatory military service in the minors, will face military prosecution.

Both Lee and Moon have been temporarily suspended, and are banned from engaging in any baseball-related activities. Once their charges are confirmed in court, they will likely face lifetime bans.

Yoo, on the other hand, could avoid a lifetime ban because he reported his wrongdoing to the club.

Last Friday, the KBO announced that it would accept confessions by players or club officials regarding match fixing through Aug. 12, and those who turn themselves in would not be slapped with lifetime bans.

Yoo, the first to fess up, may instead face an extended suspension but may ultimately be allowed to play in the league again.

Yoo is a career 16-33 with a 5.37 ERA in 127 appearances. He has made only one appearance, on May 28, for the Tigers this year.

(END)

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