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Front-end starters put up mixed results in final preseason appearances

All Headlines 17:49 March 18, 2018

SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) -- Starters expected to front their respective rotations in South Korean baseball had mixed results in their final preseason appearances on Sunday.

For the Kia Tigers, the defending champions in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), left-hander Yang Hyeon-jong allowed three runs on six hits, including a home run, over four innings against the Samsung Lions. The game at Daegu Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, was Yang's second preseason start. In his first one last Wednesday, Yang threw three shutout innings against the Doosan Bears.

Josh Lindblom of the Doosan Bears throws a pitch against the LG Twins in the teams' Korea Baseball Organization preseason game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on March 18, 2018. (Yonhap)

Yang, the 2017 regular season MVP, has been tapped as the starter for the Tigers' second game of the season next Sunday against the KT Wiz.

Yang's counterpart on Sunday, Tim Adleman, was touched for four runs on five hits in five innings while making 84 pitches in his preseason debut. Among those five hits was a solo shot by An Chi-hong in the second inning. The Tigers took the game 8-5.

In Suwon, 45 kilometers south of the capital, two foreign hurlers engaged in a pitching duel. Ryan Feierabend, the reigning ERA king for the home team KT Wiz, held the Lotte Giants to a run in five innings in his first preseason start. The Giants countered with Felix Doubront, who also gave up just a run in five innings.

This was Doubront's second preseason start. He threw four shutout innings against the LG Twins last Tuesday. The former big league pitcher signed with the Giants over the winter and is expected to front the rotation alongside fourth-year KBO veteran Brooks Raley.

The Wiz emerged with a 4-3 victory thanks to a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth by rookie Kang Baek-ho.

In the nation's capital, Tyler Wilson picked up his second straight win for the Twins, as he limited the Bears to a run over five innings at Jamsil Stadium. He ended his preseason having allowed just two runs in 10 innings.

Tyler Wilson of the LG Twins throws a pitch against the Doosan Bears in the teams' Korea Baseball Organization preseason game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on March 18, 2018. (Yonhap)

The Bears' starter Josh Lindblom was charged with three runs in five innings. It was only a slight improvement from his previous outing, when the Tigers got him for four runs in four innings.

This will be Lindblom's first season with the Bears. After spending three previous seasons with the Giants, Lindblom has been brought in to replace former MVP-winning ace Dustin Nippert, who is now with the Wiz.

Just west of Seoul in Incheon, Merrill Kelly twirled six shutout innings for the home team SK Wyverns against the Nexen Heroes. Kelly, who will be returning for his fourth KBO season, has already been picked as the Opening Day starter. He limited opponents to two runs over 10 preseason innings.

Logan Verrett, a new member of the NC Dinos' starting rotation, went five strong innings against the Hanwha Eagles in Daejeon, some 160 kilometers south of Seoul, giving up a single run on three hits and striking out four in five innings. This was Verrett's first preseason start, and he, too, should get the nod during the opening weekend. The Dinos lost 2-1 despite the right-hander's efforts.

The preseason ends on Wednesday, and the regular season starts on Saturday, the earliest start to a season in the KBO's 36-year history.


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