He was a submarine pitcher who represented the team and the league, but he is confident of recovering his honor. Park Jong-hoon (SSG Landers) is the main character.
Park Jong-hoon, who joined SK (currently SSG) as the ninth pick in the second round of the 2010 rookie draft, started receiving many opportunities in 2015 and achieved double-digit wins for two consecutive years in 2017 (12 wins) and 2018 (14 wins). He continued his upward trend in 2019 and 2020.헤라카지노도메인
Park Jong-hoon faced a crisis against the Daejeon Hanwha Eagles on May 28, 2021. He complained of pain while pitching, and he ended the season early by going to the operating table in June. Park Jong-hoon’s final performance that year was 4 wins, 2 losses, and a 2.82 ERA in 54 ⅓ innings in nine games. Since 2016, when Park Jong-hoon started to play full-time rotation, not a season has he pitched fewer innings.
In December 2021, when rehabilitation was in full swing, Park Jong-hoon signed a five-year, non-FA multi-year contract with SSG for a total of 6.5 billion won. With Moon Seung-won (five years, 5.5 billion won) and Han Yu-seom (five years, a total of 6 billion won), he not only eased the burden of the contract but also created an environment to focus on rehabilitation.
More than a year has passed, and Park Jong-hoon appeared in the match against the Gwangju KIA Tigers on July 31, 2022. He seemed to be recovering his good self by playing seven innings twice. In the Korean Series against Kiwoom Heroes that year, he helped the team achieve a unified victory by allowing no hits, four outs, and two strikeouts in three games and two ⅓ innings.
However, even though some time has passed since his return, Park Jong-hoon rarely got back on track, and he was sluggish with two wins, six losses and a 6.19 ERA in 80 innings in 18 games last year. Ace, who occupied a spot in the starting lineup, was forced to be pushed out of the competition, and it did not help the team much until the end of the season.
Park Jong-hoon himself was the only one who felt sorry about the time after his return from injury. “I’ve heard about ball control every time since I joined the club, and I think I need to prepare more,” Park told reporters at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on Sunday. “I think this is the bottom line. I have to go back to the good times. I believe that I will do better and I think that I will do well. I couldn’t believe it even if I practiced, but I’m going to believe that I practiced.”
In November last year, there was a story that Park Jong-hoon was excluded from the KBO 2nd draft protection list. As a result, Park Jong-hoon will wear the SSG uniform again this year, but he has come to reflect on himself that he has not been trusted by the team.
“When I first heard (about exclusion from the list), I was like, ‘What is this?'” Park Jong-hoon said. “I thought, ‘Is this real?’ but after some time has passed, I think athletes are supposed to be talking about grades. We need to make sure that this doesn’t happen. That’s the only answer,” Park said. “After all, I’m glad that I didn’t join another team. If I did, I would have been really depressed. I didn’t want to leave the team.”
Park Jong-hoon is spending the off-season with an extraordinary mindset than ever before. First of all, he has changed his weight. “My weight, which was in the early mid 80s and mid 80s, has increased to 100kg through bulk-ups over the past three years, but I value strength more than anything else. I have to go back because I have been working hard for two years and have not gotten any results,” he said.
“Honestly, I didn’t rest and worked out on Mondays two years ago and last year, and I didn’t spend time with my family. I feel more comfortable and better now, and I feel lighter by spending a lot of time with my family,” he said. “I eat as I normally do during the day, and eat raw (carrot) food at night. I lost 3-4 kilograms a week. The amount of exercise is the same, but I lost weight in moderation.”
What do you think of the new system, such as ABS and restriction on the number of checks? “Over the past two years, many balls were declared balls even when high curves entered the strike zone. I think there will be some advantages (in my favor),” Park said. “Does that matter now? You have to throw balls to the middle. Similarly, balls didn’t even go to the center.”
“It’s rather nice to see restrictions in check. He has a fast tempo of pitching, but there have been times when he throws according to the batter. I thought a lot about it and I had a lot of thoughts about what to do because I was allowed to steal bases, but now that I’ve been talking to the older members, I think it’ll be easier to prepare such things in advance,” he said.
Park Jong-hoon, who is currently working on his personal training schedule, will leave for the U.S. on March 10 and exercise with Choo Shin-soo and Ha Jae-hoon in Texas before moving to Florida, the site of SSG’s spring camp. “I can’t wait to throw the ball in a warm place. When I went to Shin-soo’s house last year, I thought he was really ready, and he had a great working environment,” Park said. “In the first season, Shin-soo asked me to come to the U.S., but when I said I would go early in the season, he asked me if I would really come and I was invited. It would be better for Shin-soo to work out together than to work out alone. There is also a problem to adjust to the time difference,” Park said.
All he has to do is show the results. Park Jong-hoon, who was told by coaching staff including Lee Soo-yong that “you have to do well,” would think that if he plays the full season without skipping the rotation, he would feel “recovery of his reputation” at that time. He was angry and disappointed at his decision to skip the rotation and postpone the order of his appearance. “I think that’s the first thing for a starting pitcher in the first division, rather than a win,” he vowed.