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Released by S. Korean club, outfielder seeks new opportunity in Australia

All Headlines 16:44 May 21, 2018

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, May 21 (Yonhap) -- After getting dumped by a South Korean baseball club last November, outfielder Kim Kyeong-eon will look to write a new chapter of his career in Australia.

Kim, 35, is the first player to commit to play for a new, all-Korean team to join the Australian Baseball League (ABL) starting in the 2018-2019 season. The yet-to-be-named club will be based in Geelong, 75 kilometers southwest of Melbourne, and will welcome other Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) castoffs like Kim.

South Korean baseball player Kim Kyeong-eon speaks at a press conference after a signing ceremony in Seoul on May 21, 2018, for a new, all-Korean team in the Australian Baseball League (ABL). Kim, formerly with the Hanwha Eagles in the Korea Baseball Organization, is the first player to commit to the new ABL club. (Yonhap)

Kim spent 16 seasons in the KBO, including the last eight with the Hanwha Eagles, who released him after the 2017 season. Kim is a career .271 hitter with 55 homers and 393 RBIs in 1,183 games.

He's three years removed from his most productive season in 2015, in which he set career highs with a .337 batting average, 16 home runs, 78 RBIs and 21 doubles.

At a ceremony in Seoul announcing the launching of the team, Kim said he's itching to get it going on the field again.

"It's been frustrating just to be training and not playing in games," he said. "I can't wait for the ABL season to start (in November)."

Kim said he'd been hoping to play in the ABL even before the founding of the new Korean club, and his ultimate goal is to return to the KBO.

"I would love to play at least one more season here," Kim said. "I hope I can have a good season in Australia and draw interest from teams here."

Kim would then be following in the footsteps of right-hander Ko Chang-seong. The 33-year-old joined the ABL's Sydney Blue Sox in 2017, a season after getting released by the NC Dinos in the KBO. After one season in the ABL, Ko is back in the KBO this year with the KT Wiz.

In this file photo from June 16, 2017, Kim Kyeong-eon of the Hanwha Eagles rounds the bases after a three-run home run against the KT Wiz in a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, 45 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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