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Reigning S. Korean baseball MVP caught drunk driving

All News 21:17 September 29, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- Reigning South Korean baseball MVP Eric Thames has been caught driving under the influence of alcohol, his club announced Thursday.

The NC Dinos in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said Thames, a former major leaguer playing in his third season here, faced police investigation Monday in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, two days after getting caught driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.056 percent. The legal limit is 0.050 percent.

Changwon, 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul, is the home of the Dinos.

The Dinos said Thames had dinner with his mother and had two cocktails. The club has informed the KBO of the incident.

"Thames understands the inappropriate nature of his behavior, and we'd like to apologize for the trouble this has caused," the club said.

Thames was voted the league MVP in 2015 after posting the first 40-40 season in KBO history, with 47 home runs and 40 steals. He also won the batting title with a .381 average.

The Dinos were playing a doubleheader with the Samsung Lions at home Thursday. Thames started the first game and went 3-for-4 with three RBIs in a 10-5 win.

Eric Thames of the NC Dinos hits a double against the Samsung Lions in their Korea Baseball Organization game in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, on Sept. 29, 2016. (Yonhap)

Thames was in the starting lineup for the second game but was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the first.

The one-time Toronto Blue Jay is hitting .321/.427/.679 with 40 home runs and 121 RBIs in 2016.

The Dinos have also been troubled by a match-fixing scandal involving their pitcher Lee Tae-yang who received a 10-month suspended jail term last month.

They are headed for their third straight KBO postseason, sitting in second place with a 78-54-3 (wins-losses-ties) record. In the KBO, the second seed gets the bye to the second round of the playoffs.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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