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KBO's Heroes not bringing back ex-MLB player Addison Russell

All News 14:59 November 27, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 27 (Yonhap) -- After a disappointing half-year spell, former National League All-Star Addison Russell will not be retained by the South Korean club Kiwoom Heroes.

The Heroes announced Friday they've decided not to re-sign Russell, who batted only .254/.317/.336 with two home runs and 31 RBIs in 65 games in 2020. He joined the Heroes in July as a replacement for Taylor Motter, another disappointment who batted just .114 in 37 plate appearances.

In this file photo from Aug. 20, 2020, Addison Russell of the Kiwoom Heroes watches his RBI single against the LG Twins in the bottom of the third inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Russell, 26, arrived under high expectations. He was an All-Star for the Chicago Cubs in 2016, a season in which he set career highs with 21 home runs and 95 RBIs. He also helped the Cubs win the World Series that year.

Russell batted 2-for-4 with two RBIs in his KBO debut on July 28 and homered two games later. But things quickly went downhill from there, and Russell also had trouble on defense with 12 errors.

The Heroes will also part ways with right-hander Jake Brigham, who has spent four seasons with the club and compiled a 42-23 record and a 3.70 ERA.

In 2020, the 32-year-old was limited to 21 starts while battling injuries, and went 9-5 with a 3.62 ERA.

Though Russell's departure was largely expected, cutting ties with Brigham was somewhat a surprise.

In this file photo from Nov. 2, 2020, Jake Brigham of the Kiwoom Heroes pitches against the LG Twins in the Korea Baseball Organization Wild Card game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

"Brigham has given us so much over the past four years, and it's unfortunate we'll be going separate ways," the Heroes' general manager Kim Chi-hyun said. "But we had to make this decision to build our roster for next year. Brigham has a wealth of experience in the KBO, and he's a great teammate who can have a positive influence on any clubhouse. We hope he'll find a new team as soon as possible."

The Heroes are trying to bring back their third foreign player from 2020, left-hander Eric Jokisch, for another season. The 31-year-old went 12-7 with a league-best 2.14 ERA in 27 starts in his second KBO season in 2020.

KBO clubs are each allowed to sign three foreign players, with a maximum of two pitchers.

In this file photo from Oct. 30, 2020, Eric Jokisch of the Kiwoom Heroes pitches against the Doosan Bears in a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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