LG Twins' manager Kim Ki-tai offers to quit after slow start
SEOUL, April 24 (Yonhap) -- Kim Ki-tai has offered to step down as manager of the last-place LG Twins, the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) team announced late Wednesday.
The Twins added they haven't accepted his resignation offer, after Kim said he wanted to quit to take responsibility for the Seoul-based team's slow start to the season. They said bench coach Cho Kye-hyun will serve as the interim manager.
Kim didn't appear for Wednesday's game against the Samsung Lions, fueling speculation that he had either been fired or had resigned. The Twins had initially said Kim was attending to "personal matters."
The Twins went on to drop the game 7-3 for their fourth consecutive loss.
The Twins' officials said general manager Baek Soon-gil has been in talks with Kim "with all kinds of possibilities left open."
Kim, a former KBO All-Star and batting champ, guided the Twins to the playoffs in 2013, their first postseason appearance since 2002. They posted the second-best regular season record but lost to the Doosan Bears in four games in the best-of-five second round.
After losing Wednesday, the Twins dropped to 4-13-1 for the season, dead last among nine clubs and 7.5 games out of first place.
"Our team had a good season last year, and even this year, we reached first in batting average at one point," the Twins said in a statement. "We've believed all along that our team will turn things around, and it's very regrettable that something like this happened at this juncture."
Kim enjoyed a stellar playing career as one of the premier left-handed bats in the 1990s. He belted 27 homers as a rookie in 1991, and became the first left-handed batter to lead the KBO in homers in 1994, when he hit 25 long balls.
Kim won his lone batting title with a .344 average in 1997. He retired in 2005 with a .294 career batting average, along with 249 home runs and 923 RBIs in 1,544 games.
He then served as a coach for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, before returning home as the Twins' minor league manager.
He became the bench coach for the Twins' big club in 2011 and signed a three-year deal to be their new manager starting in the 2012 season. He is in the final year of his contract.