KT Wiz’s attempt to win the championship in two years ran into difficulties from the start. Following two key members of Pil Seung-jo, even an iron man outfielder who was far from the sideline was injured and left to play gum baseball for a month in April.
An exhibition match between KT and NC held at Suwon KT Wiz Park on the 27th. The face of KT coach Lee Kang-cheol, whom I met prior to the game, was dark and cold. It was an expression rarely seen unless a key player was injured. However, as soon as the interview actually started, the news of the injury of Bae Jeong-dae (28), the core of the outfield, came out of Lee’s mouth. It was not a simple injury, but a fracture that was expected to leave a gap of at least two months.
On the 26th, against Suwon SSG, Bae Jeong-dae recorded a ball that hit the body. In the bottom of the 6th inning, with no runners out, SSG Lee Kun-wook hit the back of his left hand with a ball on his body and was replaced by runner Song Min-seop. At the time, a KT official did not take the sand dune seriously, saying, “It is a replacement for player protection, and it is not a serious injury, but I will undergo an X-ray examination to see the exact condition.”
However, as a result of the examination, the extent of the injury was more serious than expected. The KT official’s explanation on the 26th may have been the club’s wish. Director Lee said, “The dorsal part of his left hand was fractured, and he said that he could even nail a pin. He lamented, saying, “I have to do only casts for 5 to 6 weeks,” and said, “I think the exact rehabilitation period will come out after a reexamination in Seoul on the 27th.” 스포츠토토
Bae Jeong-dae is the league’s representative iron man who has played all games (144 games) for three consecutive seasons since the 2020 season. He played 432 games in 3 seasons without major injuries with thorough self-management and unique baseball sense. The fact that he played in all matches means that the player is trusted by the club. The battalion was playing a key role in KT’s airborne power with an impactful shot and a wide range of defense. In particular, he boasted a particularly strong aspect in his clutch ability and even earned the nickname ‘awesome man’. This is why this fracture feels more painful than ever.
KT plans to fill the void by putting Kim Min-hyeok, who has the second widest range of defense, in the center field in April and May. Kim Min-hyuk led the team to a 2-0 victory with multi-hits and stable defense in the NC game on the 27th, the first game after leaving the assigned table. Director Lee demanded encouragement, saying, “I’m expecting Kim Min-hyeok’s feelings to rise more.” In addition, with the departure of the assigned squad, rookie outfielder Jung Joon-young was also on board for the opening entry.
In fact, this was not the only concern of KT. Pil Seung-jo’s key agents, Kim Min-soo and Ju-kwon, were injured before the demonstration game and received two-month rest. Kim Min-soo, who recorded an ERA of 1.90 in 30 holds last year, suffered damage to his right shoulder, and Ju Kwon, who was the king of hold, suffered damage to his right forearm. As a result, coach Lee’s concern grew as an unexpected variable of injury to the distribution table occurred at the moment he was conceiving a bullpen plan B during the demonstration game.
Last year, KT also had difficulties managing the team before the start of the season when Kang Baek-ho, the leading hitter, left due to a fractured little toe. Coach Lee said, “As in last year, there were injuries ahead of the last two games of the demonstration game this year. After all, does this mean that we should change generations like this?”
KT started to play gum baseball from April, leaving two Pil Seung-jo and even the starting center fielder. What they need right now is the magic of high-end backups who fill the void of the main players.