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Ex-MLB manager Trey Hillman inaugurated as skipper for S. Korean club

2016/11/11 15:00

By Yoo Jee-ho

INCHEON, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) -- Former major league manager Trey Hillman was inaugurated as new manager for South Korean ball club SK Wyverns on Friday.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club formally introduced Hillman at a ceremony held in its hometown of Incheon, west of Seoul, with his predecessor, Kim Yong-hee, also on hand.

The Wyverns announced a two-year deal with Hillman, worth US$1.6 million, on Oct. 27. He will be paid $600,000 per season, and got a $400,000 signing bonus.

Hillman, who managed the Kansas City Royals from 2008 to 2010, is the second foreign skipper in the KBO's 34-year history, after fellow American Jerry Royster, who led the Lotte Giants from 2008 to 2010.

Hillman also becomes the first man to manage in the majors, the KBO and Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

Hillman, 53, was a manager in the New York Yankees minor league system from 1990 to 2001, and then became the director of player development for the Texas Rangers in 2002.

He later managed the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in the NPB from 2003 to 2007, winning the Japan Series in 2006 and finishing second in 2007.

Hillman returned to the majors to take the Royals job in 2008.

After that, he was the bench coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers under Don Mattingly for three seasons, and then was a special assistant for major and minor league operations for the Yankees.

Most recently, Hillman was the Houston Astros' bench coach under A.J. Hinch the past two seasons.

The Wyverns missed the postseason in 2016, finishing sixth among 10 clubs with a record of 69-75, and Hillman has been tasked with reversing the fortunes of a former dynasty.

The Wyverns reached six straight Korean Series from 2007 to 2012, winning it all in 2007, 2008 and 2010.

They didn't reach the postseasons in 2013 and 2014 finishing under .500 in both years.

They grabbed the wild card spot as the fifth seed in 2015, despite a 69-73-2 (wins-losses-ties) record, and lost to the Nexen Heroes in the wild card game.

The Wyverns were left outside looking in again this year, finishing sixth at 69-75. They then let go of manager Kim Yong-hee, who'd been with the club for two seasons.

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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