LG Twins demote ex-MLB player Ruiz to minors

The LG Twins sent the slumping ex-major leaguer Rio Ruiz to the minor league Monday, making him the first foreign hitter to be demoted in South Korean baseball this year.

Ruiz, who has 315 major league games under his belt, signed a one-year deal in December worth up to US$1 million, the maximum amount allowed for all first-year foreign players in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). But the 27-year-old hasn't lived up to his contract, batting only .171/.247/.289 with a home run and five RBIs in 24 games.

By several metrics, Ruiz has been one of the KBO's top defensive third basemen. He has not committed an error in 156 defensive innings at the hot corner. But Ruiz's bat has been cold. He has had only one multihit game so far and has yet to put together a hitting streak of more than two games.

In an indication of the Twins' lack of faith in Ruiz, he was lifted for a pinch hitter with two runners aboard in the bottom of the fifth inning against the Lotte Giants on Friday, when the Twins were trailing 5-3.

The Twins got swept in that three-game weekend series to fall to 14-12, while dropping from second to fifth in the standings.

The Twins will host their Seoul rivals Doosan Bears for three games starting Tuesday.

The Bears are banged up. They have lost outfielder Kim In-tae, who was enjoying a breakout season, to right hamstring injury. He was lifted during Sunday's game against the SSG Landers.

The Bears said Kim will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Kim was leading the club with 12 runs scored and 15 walks, and was tied for second with 12 RBIs. He has a .315/.422/.370 line.

Source: Yonhap News Agency