‘Assault leader’ returns for crisis-hit Lotte, but absence of national team starter clouds team’s August prospects.
The Lotte Giants made changes to their first-team roster ahead of their game against the KIA Tigers in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field on Tuesday.
The Giants designated right-hander Na Gyun-an and outfielder Shin Yoon-hoo for assignment and added outfielder Ahn Kwon-kwon and infielder Kim Min-soo to the roster.
Initially, Lotte planned to send out Na Gyun-ahn as the starting pitcher for the game, but he injured his left hamstring during training on the 29th, and after a medical examination, it was revealed to be a hamstring strain, prompting Lotte to make an emergency replacement for the 30th starter with Han Hyun-hee.
In the end, Na was unable to avoid the first-team roster spot. With four wins and a 1.34 ERA in April alone, Na emerged as Lotte’s new homegrown ace, and his performance earned him a spot on the national team for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. His recent form hasn’t been as good. After going 2-2 with a 6.23 ERA in July, Na is now 6-4 with a 3.56 ERA this season.
On the same day, Lotte manager Larry Sutton said, “Luckily, Na Gyun-ahn didn’t tear his hamstring. It will take two to three weeks to recover,” he said. The team plans to focus on treatment for the first 10 days and then check his physical condition. Only then will a timeline for his return be outlined.
While Na’s injury absence is unfortunate, the return of Ahn Kwon-soo is welcome. Ahn Kwon-soo underwent right elbow surgery in June and was initially expected to return in September, but a monster recovery saw him return to the first team less than two months after surgery. “Ahn Kwon-soo was originally scheduled to be called up on the first of next month, but we had an injury on the team, so we called him up today (the 30th),” Sutton said.
Lotte immediately put Ahn in left field as the No. 2 hitter. The starting lineup consisted of Yoon Dong-hee (right fielder), Ahn Kwon-soo (left fielder), Jeong Hoon (first baseman), Jeon Jun-woo (designated hitter), Noh Jin-hyuk (shortstop), Kim Min-seok (center fielder), Kim Min-soo (third baseman), Jeong Jung-geun (catcher), Park Seung-wook (second baseman), and starting pitcher Han Hyun-hee.
Jung-hoon and Ahn Chi-hong, who had been substituted midway through the previous day, were mixed. Sutton said, “Jung-hoon had a bruise from playing yesterday. Fortunately, the swelling and inflammation have subsided, so he can play today,” Sutton said, adding, “I think Ahn Chi-hong will need at least four days. We’ll have to check him afterward.” The day before, Jung-hoon had been hit on the left wrist by a pitch while defending first base and had to be replaced and taken to the hospital for a checkup. The result was a simple bruise. Ahn Chi-hong, on the other hand, suffered from bile in his left back while batting and was removed for player protection, but his recovery will take time.
Overseas batsman Niko Goodrum will also be on the bench. “Goodrum’s hamstring is tight and he’s got a heavy leg, so he’s not starting, but he’s available to pinch-hit and play defense later in the game,” Sutton said.
In Goodrum’s place, Kim Min-soo got the start at third base. “It’s an opportunity for him,” Sutton said. “I’m expecting him to fight hard today, and I’m expecting him to stay focused and have a good game. He’s a player who always tries his best.”
Lotte is hanging on to sixth place after losing to KIA for the second consecutive game. Coach Sutton has asked the team to do their best to prevent injuries as they continue to suffer from a string of injuries. In addition to removing Na Kyun-ahn from the first-team roster today, the day before, the team lost starting catcher Yoo Kang-nam to a partial tear in his left adductor muscle. Yoo will need two to three weeks to recover. Add to that the injuries to several players, both big and small, and Lotte’s woes are deepening.카지노
“We’ve had some bad results lately, but we haven’t given up on any games. We’re trying our best,” Sutton said. “I told the players, ‘Take care of your bodies,’ because it’s summer.”
Now that the gusts of wind have subsided, it will be interesting to see if Lotte can overcome the crisis with the remaining players.