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Free agent pitcher Lim Chang-yong hoping for another shot at majors: agent

2013/12/31 15:26

SEOUL, Dec. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korean pitcher Lim Chang-yong, recently non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs, is hoping for another shot at Major League Baseball (MLB), his Seoul-based agent said on Tuesday.

Kim Dong-wook, head of the local agency Sports Intelligence who recently signed on as Lim's agent, said going to South Korea or Japan is not an option for his client at this point.

Kim was responding to a recent statement by the South Korean club Samsung Lions that they'd open contract negotiations with Lim if he is unable to land with a team in the United States.

Lim pitched for the Lions 1999 to 2007 before leaving for the Yakult Swallows in Japan, where he spent five more seasons. The Lions retain the prior right to negotiate with Lim should the player choose to return home.

"Lim Chang-yong's goal is to pitch in the majors," Kim said. "If he can't find a team in February, then we may enter talks with Samsung. At this point, though, we're not considering returning to South Korea or Japan."

   Lim signed a two-year minor league deal with the Cubs in December 2012. It was a uniquely structured, non-guaranteed deal with different salary rates between the times he spent in the big leagues and the minors.

Earlier this month, the Cubs didn't offer the 37-year-old pitcher a contract. Lim wasn't eligible for arbitration.

The Cubs chose to retain younger players on their 40-man roster instead, but Kim said the Cubs appear to be still interested in bringing back the South Korean pitcher.

Kim said he will need to go over Lim's complicated contract and he'd asked the Cubs to send him more details early next month.

"The Cubs told us not to put too much stock into the non-tender situation, because they're still interested in Lim," Kim said. The Cubs also reportedly offered Lim an invitation to their spring training early next year.

According to an official with the Lions, the team's manager, Ryu Joong-il, and another front office staffer recently spoke to Lim, but they didn't engage in any serious talks about Lim's possible return to South Korea.

"We wanted to see how he was doing and how much he wanted to return to the majors," the official explained. "Depending on his contract situation with the Cubs, we may have to pay them some transfer fee, and some within our team believe we shouldn't have to pay up just to bring him back."

   Lim made his big league debut in September after a call-up from the minors. He had Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ligament in his pitching elbow in July last year and spent the first half of this year in rehab, before making his first minor league appearance in July.

With the big league Cubs, Lim appeared in six games and had an ERA of 5.40 in five innings, with no win-loss record. He struck out five and walked seven in those five innings.

He made 21 appearances in the minors, allowing four earned runs in 22 1/3 innings for a 1.61 ERA.

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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