KIA, Na Sung-Beom back, Kim Sun-Bin out…When will the complete picture be?

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.

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