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Japanese league takes administrative step to acquire 2 free agent pitchers

All Headlines 11:31 November 25, 2016

SEOUL, Nov. 25 (Yonhap) -- The top Japanese baseball league has tendered a status check on two South Korean free agent pitchers, officials said Friday, taking a formal administrative step to allow Japanese clubs to sign players based here.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league inquired about the status of two All-Star left-handers, Yang Hyeon-jong and Cha Woo-chan, on Thursday. The KBO informed its counterpart that both pitchers are free agents and eligible to sign with any club, domestic or foreign.

Under an agreement between the two leagues, the NPB must make a status check on KBO players if Japanese teams are interested in acquiring them.

Both Yang and Cha have also drawn interest from the United States as the KBO last week said that Major League Baseball (MLB) asked about their status.

Yang, 28, went 10-12 with a 3.68 ERA this season, but he ate up 200 1/3 innings. Overall, he is 87-60 with a 3.95 ERA in his 10-year career. He won the ERA title in 2015 and was previously posted for MLB teams, but his KBO club, the Kia Tigers, declined to accept the winning bid for the pitcher.

Cha, 29, has been with the Samsung Lions since his debut in 2006. Though his counting stats aren't overly impressive -- 70-48 with a 4.44 ERA -- Cha has been one of the KBO's most versatile pitchers. He has split his career in the rotation and the bullpen. This year, Cha went 12-6 with a 4.73 ERA in 24 appearances.

Cha previously made a move to play in the NPB by hiring a Japanese agent in April.


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