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Active pitcher turned down offer to fix games: club

An active baseball pitcher has acknowledged he turned down an offer from a gambler to join in match-fixing schemes, the player’s club said Wednesday, as match-rigging rumors snowball across all local professional leagues.

Moon Sung-hyun, a right-hander for the Nexen Heroes in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), told team officials he turned away an operator of an illegal sports betting site, who approached the pitcher through a mutual friend.

The Heroes are in Arizona for offseason training.

According to team officials, Moon himself didn’t know the Web site operator and didn’t hear anything about financial compensation for his participation in schemes.

The Heroes conducted their own internal inquiry in Arizona, after allegations of potential match fixing in baseball emerged earlier.

“It is not as if Moon reported himself,” a Nexen official said.

“We were in the process of trying to verify rumors and then learned of his situation.”

Moon, 20, is entering his third season with the Seoul-based Heroes. He has gone 6-17 with a 4.55 earned run average (ERA) in 62 career KBO games.

On Tuesday, prosecutors widened their match-fixing investigation into baseball after a gambling broker, arrested for his alleged ties to volleyball fixing, claimed his connection with baseball players.

The broker testified that two starting pitchers for two different Seoul-based teams agreed to issue walks in the first inning of games last year and he and the pitchers split the winnings from betting Web sites.

Illegal sites offer the so-called “proposition bets,” or prop bets. They place odds on minute and seemingly inconsequential plays, such as the number of first-inning walks issued by a starter in baseball, usually with no limits on the amount of wager. Sports Toto, the only authorized sports lottery in the country, only places odds on wins, ties, losses and the combined scores between teams. A bettor can only wager 100,000 won (US$88.90) each on Sports Toto.

The KBO has said it will try to verify allegations and has asked individual teams to carry out their own investigations.

The nation’s top football and volleyball leagues have already seen players, active and retired, arrested and indicted for their match-fixing ties. But confirmed match-fixing attempts in baseball would be even more devastating.

In 2011, the KBO set a single-season attendance record for the third straight year. It is widely expected to break the record again in 2012, as two former Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star pitchers, Park Chan-ho and Kim Byung-hyun, are set to make their KBO debuts, and sluggers Lee Seung-yeop and Kim Tae-kyun have returned from stints in Japan. (Yonhap News)


<한글 기사>

프로야구 문성현, "승부조작 제의 받았다"

프로야구 넥센 히어로즈의 오른손 투수 문성현(21)이 불법 도박 사이트 브로커로부터 경기 조작에 가담하라는 권유를 받았으나 거절한 것으로 밝혀졌다.

넥센 구단 관계자는 현재 미국 애리조나 스프링캠프에 참가 중인 선수들을 대상으로 경기 조작 관련 조사를 벌여 이 같은 사실을 확인했다고 15일 밝혔다.

그러나 문성현은 경기조작에는 가담하지 않았다고 주장한 것으로 알려졌다.

넥센 측은 “문성현이 과거 인맥으로부터 경기 조작에 도움을 달라는 제안을 받았지만 거절했다고 했다”며 “그것으로 일은 끝났다고 강조했다”고 덧붙였다.

문성현은 구단에 불법 도박 사이트에서 암약하는 브로커의 실체를 알지 못했고 금전 보상에 대해서도 들은 바가 없다고 밝힌 것으로 전해졌다.

넥센 측은 “자진 신고라기보다는 소문을 확인하는 과정에서 문성현이 관련 사실을 구단에 보고한 게 맞다”고 말했다.

한국야구위원회(KBO)는 경기 조작설이 프로야구에도 불똥이 튀자 각 구단에 철저한 조사를 당부하고 대책 마련에 부심하고 있다. (연합뉴스)