“The situation is complicated. All competitors are doing too well.”
For the KIA Tigers, one starting 안전놀이터 position is vacant. The competition among the candidates for the 5th selection was heated up. In the spring camp, KIA coach Kim Jong-guk selected Lim Ki-young, Yoon Young-chul, and Kim Ki-hoon as the 5 starting candidates. All three pitchers were given an equal chance in the evaluation game.
Currently, the two-way match between Lim Ki-young and Yoon Young-cheol is flowing. Lim Ki-yeong started in an exhibition game against the Hanwha Eagles on the 13th and allowed 2 hits and 3 walks in 2 innings, but blocked no runs. On the 16th, Yoon Young-chul faced the Kiwoom Heroes batting line and played a good fight with 2 hits, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts in 4 innings.
Kim Ki-hoon seems highly likely to take on the bullpen duties. He pitched in relief in both demonstration games. He only allowed 2 runs in 2 innings and 2 hits (1 home run) against Hanwha on the 13th, but on the 16th, against Kiwoom’s other line, he scored 2 runs in 2 innings, 3 hits, 3 strikeouts and 1 run. It is encouraging that he did not give up a single walk in 4 innings. Of course, they are not completely excluded from the competition.
The command tower fell into happy troubles with the active performance of the selection candidates. KIA coach Kim Jong-guk said, “The situation is complicated (laughs). All the competitors are doing very well. I’m going to think about it a little more until the end of the demonstration game.” I think you should see it.” He smiled.
Then, what are the skills that a fifth starting pitcher should have? Coach Kim said, “I have to throw 5 innings and block it with 2-3 runs. And I hope it doesn’t be too difficult to compete with the opponent. Overall, I have to play head-to-head with the hitters, but running away pitches are not good. The result is that after pitching, You have to pay attention to the back. I want you to win confidently and boldly.”
The starting lineup has been vacant for some time. Yang Hyeon-jong and Lee Eui-ri joined the team late after attending the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC). If Yang Hyeon-jong and Lee Eui-ri’s pace comes up late, is there any possibility to operate a six-man rotation in which Lim Ki-young and Yoon Young-cheol enter the starting lineup together?
The chief shook his head. Coach Kim said, “I don’t have it as a 6th starter. Yang Hyeon-jong and Lee Eui-ri have to increase the number of pitches, but the number of pitches at the beginning of the season is inevitably small. It is not easy to get 100 pitches in the beginning, and I don’t think their condition will rise to that level. We need to do a little more,” he said.