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(LEAD) Baseball league to open disciplinary proceedings against catcher over unsportsmanlike conduct

All Headlines 18:27 April 11, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS manager's comments at bottom)

SEOUL, April 11 (Yonhap) -- The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said Wednesday it will open disciplinary proceedings against a catcher for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The KBO said it will convene a disciplinary committee meeting over Doosan Bears catcher Yang Eui-ji's action in Tuesday's game against the Samsung Lions at Daegu Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

Before the start of the bottom seventh, new Doosan pitcher Gwak Been threw warm up pitches. On one low pitch, Yang got up and moved to his right -- making only a half-hearted sweep of the glove -- and let the ball sail between home-plate umpire Jung Jong-soo's legs. Yang could easily have caught the ball from his normal, sitting position, but instead the ball took one hop just behind Jung and hit the backstop.

The KBO believes it was Yang's premeditated attempt to let the ball nail Jung in revenge for an earlier call. In the top of the seventh, Yang visibly expressed his displeasure at a called strike during his at-bat. He ended up striking out swinging, though he didn't argue with Jung as he returned to the dugout.

After the non-catching incident, Doosan manager Kim Tae-hyung summoned Yang back to the dugout for a few choice words.

And before Wednesday's game back at Daegu, Kim told reporters that such an incident should never happen again.

"I told my players that they shouldn't be too sensitive about the (expanded) strike zone," Kim said. "Some players tend to get caught up with every single pitch when they're at the plate, and they shouldn't be like that. They think they're getting the short end of the stick every time, but when you flip the coin, the other team could feel the same way."

The KBO has been seeking to expand the zone to better reflect its rule book definition since last year, so that there can be more balance between pitching and offense. The league has been offense-happy for several years now while hurlers have been taking a beating.

"We've agreed to expand the zone to help develop baseball further, and the players need to accept it," Kim said. "The players' association should try to get everyone on the same page and ensure something like (Tuesday's incident) doesn't happen."

In this file photo from Oct. 29, 2017, Yang Eui-ji of the Doosan Bears hangs his head after flying out to right field to end the bottom of the sixth inning of Game 4 of the Korean Series against the Kia Tigers at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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