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Yoh to represent Taiwan in Asia Professional Baseball Championship

2017/11/06 16:01:59

Taipei, Nov. 6 (CNA) Taiwanese baseball star Yoh Daikan (陽岱鋼) on Monday pledged to do his best for Taiwan in the upcoming Asia Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) after he returned to the country following a disappointing first season with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan's professional baseball league.

"My major goal is to win games with the national team," Yoh said during a homecoming press event in Taipei.

He also revealed he accepted the invitation to be part of the national team out of respect for manager Hung I-chung (洪一中), who is also the manager of Lamigo Monkeys, the team for which his elder brother Yang Yao-hsun (陽耀勳) plays.

"This is a great opportunity for me to show gratitude toward Hung who gave my brother many opportunities over the past years," he added.

It will be the first time Yoh has played for Taiwan's national baseball team in two years.

The debut APBC, sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) will be held in Japan from November 16-19.

Yoh will join the national team for the upcoming matches against South Korea and Japan whose teams are mainly made up of professional players under the age of 24.

Each of the three teams will participate in a round-robin series, playing each other once. The two teams with the best win-loss percentage will face each other in the final.

The 30-year-old Yoh was able to join the squad because each team is allowed to choose three players over 24 who compete in professional leagues in Japan and South Korea.

He is scheduled to join the national squad on Wednesday.

Known as Yang Dai-kang in Taiwan, Yoh played for the Nippon Ham Fighters in the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) as an outfielder for 11 years before he declared himself a free agent in November 2016. He joined the Giants in December 2016 under a five-year-contract.

According to Taiwanese media, Yoh's contract is worth 2.2 billion yen or NT$680 million, putting him alongside former Japanese baseball legends Katsumi Hirosawa and Kazuhiro Kiyohara in securing the longest contract ever by a free agent in Japan.

However, after joining the Tokyo-based team, the four-time Golden Glove Award winner spent the first few months recovering from injuries before joining the lineup mid-season in June.

He ultimately finished the 2017 season with a 0.264 batting average, nine homeruns, and 33 RBIs in the 87 games he played for the Giants, a less than satisfactory record given his huge contract.

Yoh said he regreted being unable to accomplish his goal of appearing in all 143 regular season NPB games.

He expressed gratitude to the Giants in showing patience and allowing him to recover from his injuries.

Yoh was also glad to reach a career milestone after he became the 288th player in NPB history to reach 1,000 hits during a match against the Yakult Swallows on August 16, 2017.

(By Joseph Yeh)