After undergoing elbow surgery in the first half of the season, former Rookie of the Year Choi Min-joon (22) is making steady progress in his rehabilitation with the goal of returning next June.
“I’m eating, sleeping, and doing well,” he told reporters at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, where the fifth game of the playoffs was recently held. Seeing KT’s fall baseball makes me want to throw, and I miss the heat of the ballpark, but I’m progressing well with a positive attitude.” He shared his latest news.
Selected by KT in the first round of the 2020 Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) draft, Choi won the once-in-a-lifetime Rookie of the Year honor after going 13-6 with a 3.86 ERA in 26 games in his first year. He followed that up with seven wins and a six-inning no-hitter in Game 2 of the Korean Series to lead the team to its first-ever championship. 먹튀검증토토사이트 He continued his momentum last year, going 13-6 with a 3.05 ERA in 27 games.
This year, in his fourth year of professional baseball, he has gone three games without a win and an 11.45 ERA.
The cause was injury. On May 10, he started against the Suwon NC and struggled from the first inning as his velocity dropped and he struggled with his pitches. Then, in the fourth inning, while facing Park Gun-woo with the bases loaded, he left the mound, complaining of elbow pain. His record was 3⅔ innings, seven hits, three walks, two strikeouts and four runs.
A medical examination the next day revealed a torn medial collateral ligament in his right elbow. The torn ligament in his right elbow led to a Tommy John surgery that will require long-term rehabilitation. After another round of tests, Choi went under the knife, ending his season prematurely.
He’s now been rehabbing for half a year. “I finished shadow pitching and started throwing in the second week of November. I think I will throw up to 25 meters in Korea and then go to a rehabilitation camp,” he said, adding, “I am preparing with the goal of returning in June at the earliest and July at the latest. Of course, I’m just starting to throw the ball, so I’ll have to keep checking my arm and see.”
Small is undergoing his first long-term rehabilitation since playing baseball.
“At first, I was impatient, but when I thought about it, I would have had surgery at least once while playing baseball anyway. I think that’s why it came so quickly. Now is the time to prepare to play baseball without pain in the future,” he said, showing off his positive attitude.
“I haven’t taken a break like this since elementary school. I think it’s a time to prepare again. I’m thinking a lot of positive thoughts, and I keep thinking that I should utilize this time well. I also read books these days,” he added.
KT jumped from last place to second place in the regular season and advanced to the Korean Series for the first time in two years after winning three games in the playoffs. A strong starting lineup with the William Cuevas-Wes Benjamin one-two punch and Ko Young-pyo was a major contributor.
“During the regular season, I felt sorry for my starting brothers, but now they’re all so good without me. I feel more supportive than sorry,” he said, adding, “Especially Cuevas is great and cool. In the first game of the playoffs, he told me he had a lot of energy. He said he needed me. But when I saw his pitch in Game 4, I remembered Cuevas in the tiebreaker last year.”
While Choi was rehabbing, Park Young-hyun, a two-year junior to Yoo, took over as the team’s setup man after a meteoric rise that included an Asian Games gold medal.
“There’s nothing more I can tell him because he’s so big,” said Choi. I think he’s grown a lot through his own experiences. I think I should learn from him,” he said with a wry smile.
At the current pace of his rehabilitation, Small should be able to return to the first team before the All-Star break next year. “In order to pitch better in the future, I need to create and modify my mechanics. I don’t have many opportunities to do that, so I’m going to work on it and try to throw better pitches and pitches with more power. I will come back well after rehabilitation,” he promised.