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Korean standout Choo to join Texas

ARLINGTON, Virginia -- South Korean star Choo Shin-Soo has agreed to a seven-year contract worth US$130 million with the Texas Rangers, a report on Major League Baseball's website said Saturday.

The signing has not been confirmed by the American League club because Choo must pass a physical before the deal can be completed.

The 31-year-old outfielder, who had been the top prize remaining among free agents, produced a career-best .423 percentage of reaching base over 154 games last season for Cincinnati — fourth-best in the major leagues behind only Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto and Mike Trout.

That figure was boosted by Choo being hit by pitches 26 times, the most of any batter in Major League Baseball last season, and walked 112 times, 29 more than his prior career-high season for bases on balls.

Choo, who rejected a one-year offer for US$14.1 million to return to the Reds next season, has batted .288 over nine seasons with Seattle, Cleveland and Cincinnati with 104 home runs and 427 runs batted in.

As a leadoff batter last season for the Reds, left-hander Choo hit .285 with 21 home runs, 54 runs batted in and 20 steals.

He will add punch to a Rangers' attack that slipped last year as Texas missed the playoffs after reaching the World Series in 2010 and 2011 and taking a wild-card berth in 2012.

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