Samsung Lions manager Park Jin-man smiled when asked about left-handed pitcher Choi Chae-heung, 28, who exceeded expectations in his first start since being discharged from the military.
“He seems to have gained confidence in the military,” Park said on Thursday ahead of his team’s 2023 baseball season opener against the LG Twins at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, and praised Choi, saying, “I think he will be a main starter, not a fifth starter.”
“He seems to have improved a lot from before he enlisted,” Park said, adding, “I will use him normally in his next start (against KT WIZ on the 18th).”
Choi, who was discharged from the military on the 12th, started the game against LG on the 13th and pitched 5⅓ innings with three hits, two walks, and two strikeouts.
The bullpen collapsed and he didn’t get the win, but it was a performance worthy of applause.
Choi’s performance was the final nail in the coffin for Samsung, which has been struggling with its fifth starter.
The team has four starting pitchers – David Buchanan, Albert Suarez, Tae-in Won, and Jung-hyun Paik – who have done their job, but have been unable to find a fifth starter, so they have been rotating with substitutes.안전놀이터
“I think we’ve definitely got a solid backup,” said Park Jin-man, “and we’ll be able to operate the five-star system normally in the future.”
Won Tae-in, who was removed from the first-team roster on Nov. 11 due to a mild back injury, will return after 10 days.
“It’s not a big injury,” Park said, “and he’ll start next time.”