The man to fill the void of ‘Ace’ Ahn Woo-jin has been chosen. Kiwoom Heroes right-hander Kim Dong-kyu will make his debut start against his ‘home’ team, the LG Twins.
“(The 13th starter) is a very tall pitcher,” Kiwoom head coach Hong Won-ki said on Wednesday ahead of the team’s 14th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League season against LG at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. Kiwoom was looking for a replacement starter after demoting Ahn Woo-jin to the second team to rest after his start against the Gocheok Lotte Giants on the 8th, and decided to give Kim Dong-gyu the job.
Kim Dong-gyu, who graduated from Youngnam Middle and Seongnam High School, joined LG with the 17th pick in the second round this year and was transferred to Kiwoom via trade on the 29th of last month along with outfielder Lee Ju-hyung. Kim, who had been playing in the Futures League before switching teams, has played two games in the Futures League with Kiwoom. Against the SSG Landers on the 4th, he had a solid performance with 5 innings of 4 hits, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts, while against the Lotte Giants on the 9th, he struggled with ⅓ inning of 2 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs (2 earned).안전놀이터
“Kim Dong-kyu started with the team in Gochuk (midweek against Lotte), and when he pitched against Lotte on the 9th, we informed him that he would be starting in the first team and instructed him to pitch a short inning and join the first team,” said manager Hong Won-ki. “He said he was nervous that day and the result was a bit bad. He said he was nervous that day and the results weren’t great. I think there was pressure, and that’s something a player has to go through and overcome.”
Kim’s only first-team appearance this season came on 10 June against the Hanwha Eagles, when he allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits in ⅓ of an inning. Moreover, the fact that he will be facing LG in his debut start could be a pressure on him.
“It might be a bit brutal (making his debut against his home team), and there will be a lot of pressure on him as a young player,” said Hong Won-ki. “If the fearful feelings turn into confidence, the energy will be tremendous. Even if it’s not a lot of advice, I hope that the player’s confident pitching will serve as a foundation for Kim Dong-gyu to grow to the next level as a starting pitcher.” He expressed his expectations for Kim Dong-gyu.