Kim apologizes for gesture

BOSTON -- Red Sox reliever Byung-Hyun Kim apologized following Saturday night's Game 3 win over the A's for making an obscene gesture toward Boston fans after he was booed during pre-game introductions.

Kim failed to hold a lead in the ninth inning of Game 1 of Boston's AL Division Series against Oakland, which the Red Sox lost in extra innings, and fans jeered as the closer was introduced before Saturday night's game.

Kim initially tipped his cap when his name was announced, then when fans began booing he lifted his right hand and put up his middle finger.

Within 10 minutes after Boston's win in Game 3, the Red Sox issued a statement on behalf of Kim.

"I apologize to the fans of the Red Sox, the people of New England, and baseball fans throughout the world," said Kim. "It was an instant, reflexive reaction that I regret."

"I appreciate the passion our fans have for baseball in Boston; all of us depend on them and their support. I am very sorry."

Kim did not pitch in Boston's 3-1 victory in 11 innings that cut
Oakland's lead to 2-1 in the best-of-five series. Game 4 is Sunday at Fenway Park.

Kim's gesture upset reliever Mike Timlin, the last player introduced before Kim.

"I was standing right next to him. I was personally embarrassed," said Timlin, who pitched three perfect innings. "He's a man. He's got to control his actions.

"I was embarrassed for myself and for the Red Sox."

Kim has intermittently held the job of Red Sox closer -- many relievers have held that job, in fact -- and at one point earlier this year, Kim complained about the negative air around the team.

Boston obtained Kim from Arizona for infielder Shea Hillenbrand on May 29. In 44 relief appearances and five starts with the Red
Sox this season, Kim was 8-5 with a 3.18 ERA and 16 saves in 19 chances.

Kim gave up game-tying homers for Arizona in Games 4 and 5 of the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium.