Just when you thought it was going to be good news, it turns out to be bad news.
The Kia Tigers have been haunted by a nasty injury bug. ‘Captain’ Kim Sun-bin (34) has been ruled out for the first half of the season with a fractured right thumb. Kim was hit hard by Jason Martin’s pitch against the Gwangju NC Dinos on the 17th, and was diagnosed with a fracture the next day at the club’s designated hospital. A second examination in Seoul on the 19th revealed the same result.
The KIA Tigers have not played a game at 100 per cent strength this season. Just before the start of the season, key hitter Na Sung-beom (34), who returned from the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), was sidelined with a calf muscle injury. Within the opening two games, infielder Kim Do-young (20) was placed on the disabled list after suffering a fracture during a home sweep. The team was far from complete as more injuries, big and small, followed. After more than two months of rehabilitation, Kim Do-young was recently declared cured, and there were high hopes for a power synergy. In the meantime, the loss of Kim Sun-bin, who not only secured the centre line with Park Chan-ho but also served as the captain, is bound to come as a big blow.
Na Sung-beom and Kim Do-young will be called up to the first team after an adjustment period in the Futures (second team) league. However, there is a catch. “Na Sung-beom’s call-up may be delayed depending on his physical condition, but Kim Do-young needs to be watched more closely as he needs to work on his positional play,” said KIA coach Kim Jong-guk, after seeing the results of both players in the Futures League. While Na has plenty of experience as a centre fielder and corner outfielder, 메이저놀이터 and if he regains his batting form, he shouldn’t have much trouble making the first team, the second-year pro Kim Do-young is coming off a long layoff and is still far from perfect at the shortstop and third base positions, so his call-up will be based on how he performs at those positions.
Kim Kyu-sung (26) and Choi Jung-yong (27) are expected to take turns at the second base spot vacated by Kim Sun-bin. Kim, who has been on the first team since the opening day roster, is batting 2-for-1 (13-for-62) with one home run, five RBIs and a .596 OPS in 47 games. He has spent most of his time as a pinch-hitter and defender, but after last season, he spent time in the Australian Baseball League’s Geelong Korea, where he showed improvement. Choi Jeong-yong, who, like Kim, is a big bat and big defender, is expected to be Kim’s backup for the foreseeable future.