Kim Tae-hyung-ho’s new start, ‘long-haired closer’ is confident

“The power is evenly distributed without any one spot missing.”

Lotte closer and pitching coach Kim Won-joong (30-Lotte Giants) was pleased with his spring training performance.

“I finished well without any injuries. (Jung) Sung-jong-i was injured, so we had to go in first, but other than that, we didn’t have any other injuries, so I think we did a good job,” he said.

He also commented on his personal physical condition, saying, “You’ve done a good job of building up your body without being in much worse shape than in previous years. I’m satisfied with how well I did in the training part, and I think I’ve been making good progress.”

Lotte hasn’t played fall baseball since 2017. The team underwent a major reorganization ahead of this season. They hired Kim Tae-hyung to fill the vacancy left by Larry Sutton, who stepped down midway through last season. Kim Tae-hyung is a former manager who led the Doosan to the Korean Series from 2015 to 2021. The front office has also been completely reorganized. Sung Min-kyu is out, and “Lotte Man” Park Jun-hyuk is back.

Kim Tae-hyung also felt the effect of the coach. He said, “There was no difference in the schedule because the spring camp didn’t deviate much from the mold. The coach created an atmosphere to bring the players closer together in terms of atmosphere and things like that, and I think it’s a better situation because of the change.” “It was a time for all the juniors to have a sense of purpose. I think we can’t ignore the change in atmosphere. I think all of our juniors did a good job.”

He was also confident about Lotte’s fall baseball this season. “I don’t think we’re a weak team,” Kim said. I think we have an even distribution of power without any weaknesses. It was just a matter of timing and luck. If we have this kind of atmosphere and desire to play again, we are not a weak team. I think we are a team that can go to the top of the table.”

He has 107 career saves and two 30+ save games, but he has yet to win a save title. Last year, he also had 30 saves, but finished third.

This year, the KBO’s saves leaderboard is expected to be up for grabs. Last year’s second-place finishers, Kim Jae-yoon (32 saves) and Oh Seung-hwan (30 saves), will join 안전놀이터 the Samsung Lions. Kim signed a four-year, $5.8 billion contract with Samsung after the season. Plus, Cho Sang-woo, the 2020 Save King, returned from military service.

A new competition for the save king. Kim Won-joong said, “I always aim for first place. I don’t want to chase it, but I think that if I play a healthy season and prepare well when the manager tells me to go out, the record will follow. I’m just going to focus on preparing and playing well every day,” he said, adding, “I want to play in every game that I win, and I’m preparing to play in as many situations as possible to suit the situation, because the human body can’t do that again.”

He also made his aspirations for fall baseball clear. “My goal is to be the last one standing at the end of Korean baseball. If I think about it one by one and follow it, I hope that day will come this year, next year, or sometime in the future.”

The KBO will begin exhibition games on September 9th. It’s a final check before the regular season. “The weather has changed, and it’s time to improve my physical condition before the season starts, so I’ll focus on that. I will manage my physical condition well to welcome the start of the season.”


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