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Infielder to train with ex-S. Korean club before MLB camp

All Headlines 10:24 February 03, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean infielder Hwang Jae-gyun will train with two teams named the Giants ahead of his first U.S. season.

Hwang, who recently signed with the San Francisco Giants, will work out with his former South Korean club, the Lotte Giants, before reporting to the major league team's spring training, a Lotte official said Friday.

Both Giants will set up their camps in Arizona. The official said the third baseman will join Lotte on Saturday in Peoria, and then report to San Francisco's camp in Scottsdale two weeks later. Hwang left South Korea on Jan. 25 and has been working out in Houston.

The reporting date for San Francisco's position players is Feb. 16, a day before their full-squad workout.

After 10 seasons in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), Hwang signed a split contract -- offering different salaries for the times spent in the majors and the minors -- with San Francisco last month. Hwang has an invitation to spring training, and if he makes the 25-man roster, Hwang will make US$1.5 million. He can also earn up to $1.6 million in incentives.

Hwang Jae-gyun of the San Francisco Giants smiles during an interview with reporters at Incheon International Airport on Jan. 25, 2017. (Yonhap)

A power-hitting All-Star in the KBO, Hwang will have to beat out the likes of Eduardo Nunez and Conor Gillaspie, who saw the bulk of time at hot corner last season, for the third base job.

The Lotte Giants hoped to re-sign Hwang, but the player turned down what the team said was "a sizeable offer" to chase his big league dream. A Lotte official explained the two sides have remained on good terms even after their contract talks fell through, and that Lotte will be willing to help out Hwang as he prepares for his first big league camp.

Hwang, 29, enjoyed his most productive offensive season in 2016, with career highs of a .335 batting average, 27 home runs, 113 RBIs, 167 hits and 97 runs scored. He also stole 25 bases while cutting down his strikeouts from 122 in 2015 to 66.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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