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Veteran pitchers turning back clock in preseason

All Headlines 17:22 March 22, 2017

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, March 22 (Yonhap) -- Two veteran hurlers are turning back the clock in preseason baseball this month, as they battle for a spot on their respective rotations.

Bae Young-soo of the Hanwha Eagles tossed four scoreless innings in a 7-4 win over the NC Dinos in their Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) preseason game at Masan Stadium in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, on Wednesday. The 35-year-old right-hander gave up only two hits while striking out four and walking none to pick up his second win of the preseason.

For the Samsung Lions, left-hander Jang Won-sam, 33, twirled five shutout innings against the Kia Tigers at Gwangju Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, some 330 kilometers south of Seoul.

Bae Young-soo of the Hanwha Eagles throws a pitch against the NC Dinos in their Korea Baseball Organization preseason game at Masan Stadium in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, on March 22, 2017. (Yonhap)

Bae had held the Nexen Heroes to a run over four innings in his spring debut last Thursday. The 2004 KBO MVP, who made his debut in 2000, is the active leader with 128 regular season victories. But he failed to add to the tally last year, as he missed the entire season following an elbow operation. Once given up for dead, Bae, a former flamethrower who has reinvented himself as a crafty pitcher, may well be named the Eagles' fifth starter.

Jang led the KBO with 17 wins in 2012, but has been a shell of that dominant self in recent years. He did reach double figures in victories in 2013, 2014 and 2015, but struggled to a 5-8 record and a career-worst 7.01 ERA in 26 appearances last year. He was also limited to just 78 1/3 innings, his lowest total since 2009.

In his first spring outing last Wednesday against the KT Wiz, Jang allowed two runs on five hits in three innings. He looked a bit shaky at the start of Wednesday's game, but scattered four hits and three walks to keep the Tigers off the board.

He got into a bases-loaded jam in both the first and the second inning, but induced double plays on both occasions to kill the rallies.

Jang was then perfect in the third and fourth innings, and worked around a one-out single in the fifth.

Jang left the game with a 3-0 lead, but the Tigers erased that with three runs in the sixth against the Lions' bullpen. The Tigers scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 victory.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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