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Sophomore outfielder Na Sung-bum tops All-Star voting

2014/07/07 14:10

SEOUL, July 7 (Yonhap) -- A second-year outfielder Na Sung-bum of the NC Dinos led the All-Star voting for the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), the country's top competition announced on Monday.

The KBO said the 24-year-old slugger garnered 968,013 votes from fans and another 193 votes from KBO coaches and fellow players to lead the 22 All-Star starters.

The KBO has nine clubs. Na's Dinos, along with the LG Twins, the Nexen Heroes, the Kia Tigers and the Hanwha Eagles, will represent the Western League.

The Eastern League will feature players from the remaining clubs: the Samsung Lions, the Doosan Bears, the Lotte Giants and the SK Wyverns.

The All-Star Game will be played on July 18 in Gwangju, home of the Tigers located about 330 kilometers south of Seoul.

This was the first year that the KBO adopted voting by players and coaches in the All-Star balloting.

Through Sunday's games, Na was among the KBO leaders in major offensive categories, with a .347 average, 18 homers and 62 RBIs in 73 games. He has helped the Dinos, only playing in their second KBO season, contend for a spot in the postseason open to the league's top four clubs. They're currently ranked third with a record of 42-31, 6.5 games behind the first-place Lions and 3.5 games clear of the fourth-place Giants.

Last year, Na batted .243 with 14 homers and 64 RBIs in 104 games and finished third in the Rookie of the Year balloting.

Kang Jung-ho, shortstop for the Nexen Heroes, finished second overall in the votes. He earned 962,510 votes from fans and 194 votes from players and coaches.

Kang leads the KBO with 66 RBIs and is second in homers with 24, one shy of his career-high set in 2012. Kang is also batting .336 and has a robust .702 slugging percentage.

Among other notables, Park Byung-ho of the Heroes, the two-time reigning KBO MVP, was selected as the starting first baseman for the Western League. Park, who leads the league with 29 homers, will be making his first All-Star Game start.

Lee Jae-won, catcher for the SK Wyverns, has also made the All-Star starting lineup for the first time, thanks to his league-best .401 batting average.

In the Western League, the Dinos are best represented with four players, followed by the Heroes with three, the Tigers with two, and the Eagles and the Twins with one apiece. Former Major League Baseball (MLB) outfielder Felix Pie of the Hanwha Eagles is the only foreign player in the Western League's starting lineup.

In the Eastern League, the Bears led the pack with four All-Stars, followed by the Lions with three and two apiece for the Giants and the Wyverns.

Two foreign players made the Eastern League starting lineup: first baseman Jorge Cantu of the Bears and the designated hitter Luis Jimenez of the Giants.

The Lions' Lim Chang-yong, a veteran closer who returned to the KBO after a short stint with the Chicago Cubs, was voted in as the top relief pitcher.

The KBO said this is the first All-Star Game since 2004 that every team has been represented in the starting lineups.

Managers for each side -- Ryu Joong-il of Samsung for the Eastern and Yang Sang-moon of LG for the Western -- will announce 12 reserves each on Wednesday.

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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