Concerns were unfounded.
Yang Hyeon-jong (35) and Lee Eui-ri (21), who returned from the 2023 WBC (World Baseball Classic) national team, started their first demonstration game. Concerns that sluggishness in the WBC would continue and expectations that he would catch a clue of a rebound in his team’s KIA uniform crossed. Various variables were lurking, such as the loss of the ball that was revealed at the WBC and fatigue from the difficult schedule. On the 19th, KIA coach Kim Jong-guk sent Yang Hyeon-jong and Lee Eui-ri to the Gwangju Doosan match to check. 메이저놀이터
The first pitch was successful. Yang Hyeon-jong, who took the mound as a starter, met 11 batters in 3⅓ innings and only gave up one hit, and made a stable pitch with 4 walks and 3 strikeouts. His highest fastball speed was 144 km, which was lower than usual, but he showed skill in stealing the opponent’s batter’s timing and inducing a bum hit while using a curve that was not used well during the regular season. Eui-Ri Lee, who took the mound as the third pitcher, gave the first batter Shin Sung-Hyun a left-handed solo shot and started off anxiously. However, he pitched three scoreless innings afterwards. Although there were regrets in terms of pitches, such as 4 hits including a home run, 2 walks, and 1 wild throw, he was looking for a sense of stability while making use of his weapons, such as his best 151km fastball and changeup.
KIA coach Kim Jong-guk commented after watching the first pitching of the two pitchers, “I was worried about the low number of pitches in the national team, but it seems to have been much better than the concerns.” Regarding the fact that Yang Hyeon-jong finished pitching in 45 instead of the originally scheduled 60, he explained, “I wanted to try it with the feeling of throwing about two more innings in the bullpen, so I changed it.” Coach Kim said, “The national team was in poor condition, and there were only a small number of players, but there was no place that was particularly bad.”
However, it is unclear whether Yang Hyeon-jong and Lee Eui-ri will be able to take the lead from the opening series. Due to the part where he joined the national team during the spring camp and was away from the normal build-up process, it takes more time to raise the number of pitches for the season. Coach Kim also said, “It will probably not be easy for Yang Hyeon-jong and Lee Eui-ri to hit 90 pitches until the opening,” but also said, “Since the starting rotation order has not been decided yet, we will decide how to operate after watching future demonstration games.”
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