Seo Gun-chang, Kim Joo-sung (infield), Kim Ki-yeon (catcher)안전놀이터, Oh Seok-joo, and Lee Woo-chan (pitcher) will make the first team in the September expansion roster.
LG Twins manager Yoon Kyung-yup talked about the expanded roster ahead of the team’s home game against the Doosan Bears of the 2023 KBO on Sept. 31 at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul.
The KBO will begin expanded rosters on Sept. 1, allowing five more players to make the first team. For LG, Yeom chose Seo Gun-chang, Kim Joo-seong, Kim Ki-yeon, Oh Seok-joo, and Lee Woo-chan.
LG’s Seo Gun-chang returns to the first team in the September expansion roster. Photo by Chun Jeong-hwan
The most prominent of these players is Seo Gun-chang. He made his professional debut in an LG uniform in 2008 and has been playing for the Heroes since 2021. Until last year, he batted .299 (4486 hits in 1343 at-bats) with 39 home runs, 479 RBIs, and 226 stolen bases in 1212 games, including 201 hits in 2014, the most in a single season in history.
However, he has been on a downward spiral as of late. He batted just .224 (49-for-219) in 77 games last year and has struggled to hit .207 (18-for-87) in 31 games this season.
After being designated for assignment from the first team roster in May, Seo has since improved his form in the Futures (second level) league and will finally return to the first team in September. In the Futures League, Seo is batting .252 (28-for-111) with 20 RBIs and two doubles in 32 games.
Right-hander Kim Ki-yeon is another catching prospect with a lot of potential. He was drafted by the LG with the 34th overall pick in the second round in 2016 and had two hits and one RBI in 14 games with the first team until last year. This season, he started 21 games and batted .120 (3-for-25) with two RBIs. In 34 games in the Futures League, he batted .280 (26-for-93) with three home runs and 18 RBIs.
In addition, right-handed hitting infielder Joo-Sung Kim batted .285 (186-for-53) with two home runs, 27 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 56 Futures League games this year. Right-hander Oh Seok-joo has appeared in 20 games, posting a 1-0 record with two saves and a 4.35 ERA, while left-hander Lee Woo-chan has appeared in 13 games, posting a 1-0 record with one save and a 4.73 ERA.
“When (starting catcher) Park Dong-won hits, he’s fine, but when he catches the ball, he says his wrist is bad,” Yeom Kyung-yeop said of the duo, adding, “Lee Woo-chan will be registered for two days. The date is not available.”
The mood at LG has not been good lately. Right-handed foreign ace Adam Plutko, who was diagnosed with a left pelvic bone contusion, is out of the lineup. He is expected to take four to five weeks to return. Add to that a sweep in a three-game weekend series against the NC Dinos at Changwon NC Park from Nov. 25 to 27, and the team is on a three-game losing streak.
“He (Plutko) said his hip is sore. It’s God’s will and we have to accept it. Sometimes it was harder in the first half,” he said, adding, “We need to get our hitting going. In the first half, my batting came alive and I was able to hold on, but in the second half, my batting hasn’t come up,” he said, hoping for the batsmen’s efforts.
Meanwhile, LG’s lineup was Hong Chang-ki (right fielder), Shin Min-jae (second baseman), Kim Hyun-soo (designated hitter), Austin Dean (first baseman), Moon Bo-kyung (third baseman), Oh Ji-hwan (shortstop), Park Dong-won (catcher), Moon Sung-joo (left fielder), and Park Hae-min (center fielder). The starting pitcher is Casey Kelida.
Manager Yoon Kyung-yup leading LG. Photo by Kim Young-gu