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U.S. pitcher leaves S. Korean club to be with ailing daughter

All Headlines 11:36 December 08, 2016

SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) -- American pitcher Josh Lindblom said Thursday he's leaving his South Korean club, Lotte Giants, to be with his ailing daughter Monroe.

In a message posted on the Giants' Facebook page, Lindblom said he will return to the United States to spend more time with Monroe, who was diagnosed with a heart defect before birth and recently underwent her first open heart surgery in the U.S. And since she will need more operations, Lindblom said he and his family have decided to stay in America for 2017.

"Our plan was to come back to Lotte for a third season, but an opportunity came up that will allow our family to stay together," the pitcher said. "Right now, we know this is what is most important for our family as we prepare for Monroe's next surgery."

After four seasons in the majors with four different teams, Lindblom made a strong Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) debut in 2015, going 13-11 with a 3.56 ERA in 32 appearances. The right-hander quickly became a fan favorite in Busan with his strong pitching and charitable efforts, but wasn't nearly as effective this year, with a 10-13 record and a 5.28 ERA in 30 starts.

In this file photo taken on Aug. 27, 2016, Josh Lindblom of the Lotte Giants delivers a pitch against the Samsung Lions in their Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Daegu Samsung Lions Park. (Yonhap)

The Giants still sought to bring him back for another year, but the 29-year-old pitcher put his family first.

"We love the city of Busan, the Giants fans, and the Lotte organization. Since we arrived in Busan everyone has made us feel like family and Korea has been our home away from home," Lindblom said. "We appreciate your support over the last two seasons. Our hope is that all of us can return to Busan and I can play for Lotte again in seasons to come."

To fill Lindblom's void, the Giants acquired right-hander Parker Markel with a US$525,000 deal.

The 26-year-old has gone 34-26 with a 3.99 ERA in 197 minor league appearances across seven seasons. He doesn't have any major league experience.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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