“I thought it was over” Injury after injury, season of bad luck…Hanwha’s ’14-win ace’ takes a break

July 21, 2023 0 Comments

For Kim Min-woo (28, Hanwha), who has been working tirelessly since his fall, it could be a good thing.

Kim has been Hanwha’s leading innings-eating pitcher. He pitched 132⅔ innings in 2020, 155⅓ innings in 2021, and 163 innings in 2022, a team-high 451 innings in three years. As foreign pitchers were constantly sidelined by injuries, he was able to hold down a spot in the rotation, proving to be a homegrown ace.

In 2021, he was selected for the Tokyo Olympic team, where he posted a career-high 14 wins (10 losses) with a 4.00 ERA. The 14 wins were the most by a Hanwha pitcher since Ryu Hyun-jin (16) in 2010. He also became the first Hanwha pitcher in his 20s to throw a complete game since Ryu Hyun-jin in 2012 with nine innings of one-run ball against Daejeon NC on September 4 last year.

However, this year has been a season of bad luck due to repeated injuries. His bad luck began in the fourth inning of the May 14 game against the SSG in Munhak when Guillermo Heredia’s hard hit ball hit his throwing right arm. “I’ve been hit in the leg before, but never in the arm. I thought (my season) was over, but I was lucky it wasn’t a fracture. It hit me in the flesh and it hurt like hell. I still have bones sticking out (where I was hit). It still hurts to touch,” Kim recalled.

“I was surprised because I thought I broke a bone, but luckily it was just a bruise. However, the area around his arm was very swollen, and he needed 10 days for the swelling to go down. On the fourth game after his comeback, against Sajik Lotte on March 14, he felt pain in his shoulder.

He felt a pop in his shoulder while throwing to the last batter of the first inning, Ahn Chi-hong. He was removed from the game after one inning, and a medical examination revealed a partial tear of the deltoid muscle in his right shoulder. He was diagnosed as needing up to three months of rehabilitation and moved to Seosan Rehabilitation Center.

“I’m focusing on my recovery and building my body step by step,” said Kim, who has been rehabbing for a month. I’ve been diagnosed with a three-month rehabilitation period, and I want to fulfill it as much as possible. I want to finish the season in good shape,” he said, hoping to return within the season.

While the injury is unfortunate, Kim is more concerned about his pitching performance this season, going 1-6 with a 6.97 ERA in 12 games (51⅔ innings). Kim said, “I was really bad this year. Something kept going wrong from the beginning. I wanted to do a good job in the starting lineup, but it’s very unfortunate that I didn’t perform well and got injured.”

In times like this, it’s important to stay positive. It was time for a sabbatical, as he had pitched enough. Kim said, “I want to recover well and get back to my good form. I’m taking a little time to recover and look back at the things that weren’t so good. I think I need to prepare well while fixing what needs to be fixed.”바카라사이트

If Kim completes his three-month rehabilitation as scheduled, he could be back in action by the end of September. With second-year starter Moon Dong-ju, who is on an innings limit, likely out for the season after the Hangzhou Asian Games, Hanwha needs one more starter. If Kim returns in good form, it could be a huge boost.

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