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Ex-MLB trainer, player hired by KBO club

All News 14:52 November 11, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) -- A former personal trainer for Toronto Blue Jays' South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin has been hired by a Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club to revamp its training system.

The Kiwoom Heroes announced Wednesday that Kim Byung-gon, who worked with Ryu in the Blue Jays' high performance department this past season, will be one of two new special assistants to the general manager.

In this file photo from Feb. 14, 2020, Kim Byung-gon, personal trainer for Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays, speaks to reporters outside the clubhouse at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida. (Yonhap)

Kim, a sports medicine doctor who also worked as the top trainer for the Korean national baseball team, spent the 2020 season with the Blue Jays. He recently announced he'd part ways with Ryu to spend more time at home.

"We'll create our new high performance team and integrate training systems that are currently split between the KBO and our minor league club," the Heroes said. "The high performance team will be divided into the athletic training part and strength and conditioning part. Kim will offer us expertise in these areas."

In this file photo from Feb. 14, 2020, trainer Kim Byung-gon works on Toronto Blue Jays' pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin at the Player Development Complex outside TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida. (Yonhap)

The Heroes also hired former major league player Alvaro Espinoza as the other special assistant. The Venezuelan native played all infield positions during his 12-year big league career, and he has been a fielding instructor for several organizations, and most recently managed the San Francisco Giants' Rookie-ball affiliate in 2019.

The Heroes will put Espinoza in charge of shoring up their defense, and said he will work with both the KBO and the minor league players.

This photo, provided by the Kiwoom Heroes on Nov. 11, 2020, shows the club's new special assistant to the general manager, Alvaro Espinoza. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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