Park Chan-ho (28, KIA), KIA’s starting shortstop and a candidate for this year’s Golden Glove for shortstop in the KBO, may return to action sooner than expected. Exactly when he will return to the starting lineup remains to be seen, but it is likely to be sooner than originally expected.
Park Chan-ho took batting practice outdoors ahead of the 19th game against LG at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field. It was a simple batting practice, with no swings at 100% power, but it was a much faster return than expected. Park Chan-ho took light batting practice indoors on the 18th and didn’t experience much pain, so he moved to the outdoors on the 19th.
Kia manager Kim Jong-kook said of Park, “I think he got better faster than I thought. I practiced batting in the field and there is a little bit of pain, but it seems to have improved a lot,” he said. “Yesterday, he took batting practice indoors, and he said he didn’t feel any pain indoors, so he went out on the field. I think he’s improving a lot faster than I thought.”
The speed of Kim’s recovery was unexpected. Park Chan-ho expressed his desire to play again today, but Kim discouraged him and plans to keep him on the bench as a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner for now.
Still, it’s good to see. His recovery has been much faster than expected. His defense and fielding are fine, but he can’t return to the lineup until he can hit. It was estimated that it would be three weeks before he could return to hitting.
I was worried that in the worst case scenario, he would be starting games off the bench until the end of September. But at this point, he’s on pace to return to the lineup as early as this week and as late as next week.
Park Chan-ho injured his left fourth finger while head-first sliding to first base after hitting a grounder to shortstop in the fifth inning at Daegu Samsung Electronics on April 12. The club discourages head-first sliding, but it was an instinctive action. He was immediately removed from the game due to the pain, and on the 13th, he underwent a medical examination in Gwangju, where it was determined that he had damaged ligaments in his finger.
He had no problem fielding and running the bases with his gloved hand. The team decided that there were no better pinch-hitters and defensive players on the team, so they kept Park Chan-ho on the roster without removing him from the first team. The idea was to use him later in the game when needed. In fact, Park Chan-ho played as a pinch-hitter in the second half of the game against Doosan in Gwangju on the 18th. However, his batting also recovered quickly.
Coach Kim said, “He wants to play today as well. If he does a little more taping, he might not have any more pain,” Kim said, but he is cautiously monitoring his condition. “Yesterday, I went to the infield, and if I can play today, I’m thinking of playing infield or pinch-hitter. He told me he wanted to play today, but I told him to wait until the second half.” Kim added. However, he acknowledged his motivation, saying, “I think Park Chan-ho is also thinking a lot about going out on the field because he likes to lead the game, play, run, defend, and play that style.”
Park will continue to take batting practice and monitor his condition. “It’s a sensitive area, no matter how well you tape it. One foul could be the catalyst to make things worse again. Despite the player’s willingness, Kim is cautious for a reason. Since he took batting practice on the field on the 19th, it’s possible that he’ll continue to do so on the 20th to see how things go. Once the pain is gone and he can hit, he”ll be back in the lineup.
“I can field and run the bases. All he needs to do is hit. The timing (of his return to the starting lineup) will depend on how much pain he has in hitting. It will also depend on how we do the taping.” With Choi Won-jun’s call-up to the Asian Games team on the horizon, Park Chan-ho could be back in the starting lineup as soon as this weekend.
Catcher Kim Tae-gun, who has been dealing with an ankle sprain, is also making progress. Kim said, “I rested him yesterday because I thought he needed a little bit of care. Seung-taek will start today, but he can play in the second half. From tomorrow, he can also start,” Kim said. Lee Woo-sung’s condition has also improved a lot and he is now able to play normally.스포츠토토
Meanwhile, KIA removed Hwang Dong-ha from the first-team roster after his disappointing performance against Doosan in Gwangju on April 18. Coach Kim said, “We will adjust the rotation in 10 days,” indicating that he will use him as a starter later. Kim announced Kim Ki-hoon as the starter against Gwangju Kiwoom on the 20th.
The Kia batting order was Choi Won-jun (center fielder), Kim Do-young (third baseman), Na Sung-beom (right fielder), Choi Hyung-woo (designated hitter), Kim Sun-bin (second baseman), Socrates (left fielder), Hwang Dae-in (first baseman), Han Seung-taek (catcher), and Kim Kyu-sung (shortstop). Yang Hyun-jong will make his 378th career start, surpassing the previous KBO record of Song Jin-woo (377 games).