O’s apologize to S. Korean baseball organizations

The Baltimore Orioles have apologized to two South Korean

baseball organizations upset with the club over its contract with a

local high school pitcher.

The Korea Baseball Association said Friday that the Orioles

violated local rules that bar the signing of student players until

their graduation year. KBA officials said the Orioles signed

17-year-old left-hander Kim Seong-min last month.

Dan Duquette, Baltimore’s new executive vice president of

baseball operations, apologized to the Korea Baseball Organization

and the Korea Baseball Association for an ”unintentional breach of

protocol in failing to tender a status check in the process of

signing” Kim.

”The Orioles respect Major League Baseball’s recruiting

policies and the governing bodies and people that contribute to the

growth of baseball around the world,” Duquette said in a release

issued Friday night.

It’s unclear if the apology will affect the KBA’s decision to

ban Orioles scouts from attending its games.

Also Friday, the Orioles announced deals with right-hander Luis

Ayala and first baseman Nick Johnson, and designated outfielder

Matt Angle for assignment.

Ayala agreed to a one-year contract that includes a club option

for 2013. The 34-year-old reliever went 2-2 with a 2.09 ERA in 52

games with the New York Yankees last season.

Johnson received a minor league deal and was invited to spring

training. The oft-injured Johnson hasn’t appeared in a major league

game since 2010.