The injury woes continue for the KIA Tigers. Following Park Chan-ho’s surgery for a fractured ulna, outfielder Choi Won-jun, who was ruled out of the Asian Games with a calf injury, is expected to undergo a medical examination after returning home.
Choi was hit in the calf by a teammate’s practice bat on Sept. 27, the day before his departure for the Asian Games, and was immediately removed from training. If it had been a major injury, it would have been time for a roster change, but the team traveled to Hangzhou with Choi the next day. There was no word from the KBO, so it seemed likely that Choi would be able to play.
However, Choi did not appear in a single game from the first game of the qualifiers against Hong Kong to the Super Round 6 game against China. He didn’t appear as a substitute runner or defender. This was due to the lingering effects of a calf injury he suffered in domestic training.
A KBO official said, “On the day of the domestic training session where Choi Won-jun was injured, we checked his physical condition internally and determined that he can play in the tournament. It was not a situation where we had to make a substitution. He continued to train after arriving in Hangzhou the next day. However, since the first match, his calf muscle condition has been slow to recover, making it difficult for him to play in the actual match.”
“Choi Won-jun was hit by a ball in his left calf during training and is not comfortable playing right now. He is still undergoing treatment,” he sighed.
The speed of Choi’s recovery from his calf injury is bound to have a big impact not only on the national team but also on his club, KIA. KIA has suffered a string of bad luck with Na Sung-bum (hamstring), Choi Hyung-woo (broken collarbone), and Park Chan-ho (fractured dorsal ulna) being ruled out for the season. If Choi Won-jun is also unable to play after returning to the team, the leakage will be doubled. It also complicates things for manager Kim Jong-kook, who has emphasized that he wants to challenge for a top-five finish until the last minute.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the October 6 game against the LG Twins in Jamsil, Kim said, “Park Chan-ho had a good fracture surgery today (October 6). I hope he recovers well before joining the spring training next year. Choi Won-jun is also worried about his calf. It’s an unfortunate situation that injuries keep coming, but we’ll do our best until the end,” he sighed.
Meanwhile, KIA will face LG starter Lee Jung-yong in Game 6 with a starting batting order of Kim Do-young (third base), Ko Jong-wook (designated hitter), Kim Sun-bin (second base), Socrates (center field), Lee Woo-sung (right field), Lee Chang-jin (left field), Han Jun-soo (catcher), Byun Woo-hyuk (first base), and Kim Kyu-sung (shortstop). The KIA starting pitcher is brass.안전놀이터
Coach Kim said, “Kim Kyu-sung will continue to play shortstop for the time being. In yesterday’s game, I think he made a bad out-of-bounds catch rather than an irregular bound. It would have been a short bound catch if he caught it one foot in front of him, and it would have been an easier bound if he caught it from behind, but it was a fast ball, so it was hard to judge. Other than that, he did a good job defensively. If (Yang) Hyun-jong-i had blocked it well from behind, it would have been better, but I was more sorry that we lost another run.”