KIA Tigers pitcher Yang Hyun-jong has been designated for assignment after struggling in the second half.
On Saturday, the Kia Tigers dismissed Yang Hyun-jong and pitcher Kim Ki-hoon from the first team and designated pitchers Kim Jae-yeol and Park Joon-pyo for assignment ahead of their 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League game against the Kiwoom Heroes at Gwangju Kia Champions Field.
This is the first time Yang Hyun-jong has been designated for assignment since the start of the year. Yang started at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) before the start of the season and appeared in 19 games, going 5-7 with a 4.39 ERA in 106⅔ innings with eight home runs, 92 strikeouts and 36 walks. He had six quality starts. Yang is scheduled to return to the series next weekend after one turn on the disabled list.
Since joining the organization in 2007, Yang has been a steady presence on the KIA mound, becoming the first pitcher in KBO history to throw more than 170 innings in eight consecutive seasons from 2014 to last year. This year, however, he has struggled with fatigue and hasn’t been as dominant as he once was, especially in the second half of the season, going 2-2 with a 7.71 ERA in 16 1/3 innings over three games.
Against Kiwoom on the 15th, Yang allowed seven runs in 5⅔ innings while giving up a grand slam to Kim Hye-sung. The team rallied to lose 6-9. There are also hidden numbers in the second half of the season. Yang gave up eight runs on nine hits in two innings against LG on the 8th, but the game was declared a rainout in the second inning.
While it didn’t affect his season record, it was a clear sign that he wasn’t feeling well. The KIA coaching staff, who had been monitoring Yang’s fatigue levels, decided it was the right time to give him a break.
By releasing Yang Hyun-jong, Kia freed up a starting pitching spot for Samsung Electronics on the 20th. KIA is expected to use the day as a bullpen day. Yang could return to the starting rotation next week against Hanwha on April 25-27.
Meanwhile, Kim Ki-hoon, who was designated for assignment along with Yang Hyun-jong, will get some time to regroup after giving up runs in his last three games. In 28 appearances this season, Kim has struck out 26 batters in 31⅓ innings pitched, but has struggled with his command, giving up 34 walks (including intentional walks). He came on in relief of Yang Hyun-jong against Kiwoom on the 15th, but gave up two runs on four hits in 1⅓ innings.스포츠토토
Kim Ki-hoon had high hopes for this year, as he performed well out of the bullpen after returning to the team after being released from Sangmu last year. With his experience as a starter at Sangmu, he was considered a candidate for the fifth spot in spring training. He made all of his appearances in the first team this season as a reliever, but started all four games in the second team.