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Former top pitching prospect traded

All Headlines 11:57 November 29, 2017

SEOUL, Nov. 29 (Yonhap) -- Once the hottest pitching prospect in South Korean baseball, right-hander Han Ki-joo has been traded for the first time in his disappointing career.

The Kia Tigers in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) dealt the 30-year-old right-hander to the Samsung Lions in exchange for outfielder Lee Young-wook on Wednesday.

Han joined the Tigers in 2006 out of high school and received a signing bonus of 1 billion won (US$922,000), which remains the largest signing bonus in KBO history.

He went 10-11 with a 3.26 ERA in 44 appearances as a rookie. Then he took over as the Tigers' closer, notching 51 saves over the next two seasons.

But starting in 2009, Han suffered a string of injuries. He underwent an elbow operation that year and had shoulder surgery in 2013. He was limited to just 32 appearances combined in 2011 and 2012, and missed the entire 2013 and 2014 seasons.

Han returned to the mound in 2015. He was 4-3 with a 7.62 ERA in 29 appearances last year, but didn't pitch in the KBO in 2017, instead pitching in 13 games in the Futures League -- the KBO's minor league -- with a 1-0 record and a 5.00 ERA.

Lee, 32, has been a backup for most of his career. He has a lifetime batting average of .245 in 521 games over eight seasons, all of them with the Lions. Lee only appeared in six games in 2017.

Former Samsung Lions outfielder Lee Young-wook (R in left photo) and Kia Tigers right-hander Han Ki-joo (right photo) were traded for each other by their Korea Baseball Organization clubs on Nov. 29, 2017. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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