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SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) — The South Korean baseball club Samsung Lions on Tuesday removed the interim label on skipper Park Jin-man, elevating him to the full-time status going into the new season.

The Lions gave Park, 45, a three-year contract worth up to 1.2 billion won (US$839,010). Park will make 250 million won per season in salary and got a 300 million won signing bonus up front. There is an annual incentive of 50 million won, too.

One of the greatest defensive shortstops in Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) history, Park first joined the Lions’ coaching staff in 2017. He had been the Lions’ minor league manager when he was brought in as the interim skipper on Aug. 1, after Huh Sam-young stepped down in light of a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.

On Park’s watch, the Lions posted the KBO’s best record from Sept. 1 and onward, going 18-11. But they had dug themselves in too deep of a hole in the summer and still fell 3.5 games shy of the final playoff spot at 66-76-2 (wins-losses-ties).

The Lions tied the KT Wiz for the best record in the regular season in 2022, but lost the one-game tiebreaker 1-0 to fall to No. 2 seed. They were knocked out of the second round in the postseason, and had a dismal first half of this year before Park righted the ship down the stretch.

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