Chong returns from U.S. without firm deal

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Chong returns from U.S. without firm deal

INCHEON - Chong Tae-hyon, the Korean free agent pitcher in contract talks with a Major League Baseball club, returned home yesterday with no deal in place.

Chong, who has held talks with the Baltimore Orioles, arrived yesterday at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, about 5:40 a.m. with his family. Chong refused to answer questions about his contract status, only saying, “Nothing has been decided and I’ve got nothing to tell you.”

Before Chong arrived, a source close to the pitcher claimed Chong had signed a deal on Tuesday and an announcement is expected in the next two to three days.

Chong, who has spent his entire 11-year career with the SK Wyverns in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), became a free agent this winter. He halted a preliminary round of contract talks with the Wyverns last month and bolted for the U.S. on Nov. 18 to seek opportunities in the majors.

The Orioles stepped up and reportedly offered the right-hander a two-year deal worth $3.2 million plus a spot on the 40-man major league roster. U.S. media reports last month had said Chong only needed to pass the physical and the Orioles were poised to introduce the Korean as their new pitcher before the end of November.

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