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Lee Dae-ho


‘Calm’ Lee makes it into Mariners’ 40-man roster

South Korean slugger Lee Dae-ho made it into the 40-man roster for the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball (MLB), giving a vital boost to his dream to play in the Big League starting next month.

The former MVP for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball had an opt-out clause in this contract and could have become a free agent if he wasn’t listed in the 40-man roster. The deadline was yesterday.

“He has a history of hitting left-handers and I think he has given us reason to believe in spring training,” Mariners’ general manager Jerry Dipoto said about Lee in the announcement to the local media. “He’s very prepared, very calm in the batter’s box. He’s gotten better every step of the way ... and it’s been a pleasant surprise, the defensive and especially the base running.”

Lee has had .250 batting average, which is not exceptional. However, Dipoto and Mariners manager Scott Servais were impressed by Lee’s ability to hit the ball far. His blast on March 8 that went over the fence showed his physical strength. “There’s big power in there,” said Servais after Lee’s homer. “We know that. It was nice to see him get into one today.”

Jesus Montero, whose been competing with Lee to platoon with the Mariners’ Adam Lind on first base, seems to have been placed on waiver as of yesterday. The Mariners will clarify Montero’s whereabouts once the 48-hour waiver period passes. If no other major league team signs Montero in the time span, he could be sent to the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, the Mariners’ minor league team.

By Choi Hyung-jo



Lydia Ko

Ko wins Kia Classic with four stroke lead over Park

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Lydia Ko won the Kia Classic on Sunday at Aviara, reaffirming her position as the top player in the world heading into the first major championship of the season.

Ko birdied the final three holes for her third straight 5-under 67 and a four-stroke victory over second-ranked Park In-bee.

“I just kind of peeked at the leaderboard and saw Inbee was making a lot of birdies - Inbee doing her Inbee things,’’ Ko said. “I knew that I needed to focus until the last moment and fortunately I made some birdies down the stretch.’’

A week after finishing second in Phoenix in the Founders Cup, the 18-year-old New Zealander headed to Rancho Mirage for the ANA Inspiration with her first LPGA Tour victory of the year and 11th overall. She also won the Ladies European Tour’s New Zealand Women’s Open in February.

Park closed with a 67. The 2013 winner at Rancho Mirage, the South Korean player appears to be over the back problem that forced her to withdraw from the first event of the season.

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