Lee Ui-ri, the KIA Tigers’ left-handed pitcher who was selected for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team, will make two starts ahead of joining the national team. Foreign pitcher Mario Sanchez, who left the team due to injury, is smoothly on his way to returning.
KIA coach Kim Jong-guk explained the physical condition and future plans of Lee Ui-ri and Sanchez ahead of the 13th game of the season against the Doosan Bears in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League held at Gwangju-KIA Champions Field on the 15th.
Previously, Lee Ui-ri started the second game of the doubleheader against the LG Twins on the 9th and left the mound after recording 3 hits, 5 walks, 3 strikeouts, and 4 runs (3 earned) in 4⅓ innings. This is because the calluses on his left middle finger were peeling off. A chronic problem that keeps recurring, ‘blister’, is what has held Lee Ui-ri back.
In the end, KIA excluded Lee Ui-ri from the entry the next day, and coach Kim Jong-guk at the time explained that it was not a serious injury, saying that he would just have to skip one rotation. As coach Kim announced, Lee Ui-ri is scheduled to return to the first team after completing 10 days.
However, considering that training for the Asian Games baseball team begins on the 23rd, Lee Ui-ri will have to sit out for the time being after his first appearance on his return. The exact time of his return has not yet been determined, but the head coach believes that Lee Ui-ri will be appointed as a starter sometime next week.
Manager Kim Jong-kook said, “(Regarding the peeled calluses), the flesh is coming back. In some ways, it seems like a chronic problem.” He added, “I don’t think I’ll be able to throw many pitches, so I’m thinking about playing about 2-3 innings. “He will be a starter in the Gwangju Kiwoom Heroes game on the 20th or the Daejeon Hanwha Eagles game on the 21st.”
This season, Lee Ui-ri is recording 10 wins, 6 losses, and an average ERA of 4.19 in 23 games and 107 ⅓ innings. He has played his role as a starting pitcher every time he appears on the mound, reaching 10 wins for two consecutive seasons. If you forget, blisters are bothering Lee Ui-ri, but now in her third year as a professional, Lee Ui-ri is overcoming big and small crises. This is why KIA is disappointed about the departure of Lee Ui-ri, who could last at least 5 innings.
At least for KIA, it is encouraging that reinforcements are joining in at a time when Lee Ui-ri is leaving. Sanchez, who is making a smooth recovery after his injury, is expected to return to the mound in the near future.
Sanchez, who was brought in as a replacement foreign player for Adonis Medina, made his KBO League debut on July 9 against Suwon KT Wiz. At the time, he had a successful game with 5 hits (1 home run), 10 strikeouts, and 1 run in 6⅓ innings. Although he had his ups and downs, he played his part in his own way, playing more than 5 innings from the away game against the Lotte Giants on the 13th of last month to the Gwangju Hanwha Eagles game on the 25th of last month. Sanchez’s records this season include 4 wins, 2 losses, and 5.28 ERA in 44 1/3 innings in 8 games.
However, after the match against Hanwha on August 25, an unexpected problem arose for both the club and the player himself. Sanchez suddenly felt unwell, and KIA eventually removed him from the first team the next day. Everyone hoped it wasn’t a major injury, but concerns turned out to be reality. As a result of a hospital examination, Sanchez was found to have partial damage to the medial collateral ligament of his right elbow (elbow) and symptoms of impingement syndrome. It was a situation where long-term departure was inevitable.
At the time, the KIA team explained Sanchez’s physical condition, saying, “It is not a condition requiring surgery, and rehabilitation will be carried out along with injection treatment. The rehabilitation period is expected to take approximately 3 weeks, and bullpen pitching will be performed thereafter.” did. Considering the time it took to improve his practical sense, it seemed like it would take quite a long time.
However, Sanchez, who recovered quickly스포츠토토 and improved his physical condition, started playing catch last week and entered the long toss stage. He also did some bullpen pitching this week. KIA also said that if there are no problems, it will be possible to launch the car in real life soon.
Coach Kim Jong-guk said, “First of all, I will start live pitching on Sunday (17th), and then I think I will have to check the actual game schedule one more time based on the situation.” Depending on the time, it seems possible that he will pitch in next week’s actual game. Of course, this is only possible if the prerequisite that there is no pain like now is established.
When reporters said that Sanchez would naturally fill the void left by Lee Ui-ri, Coach Kim looked at it positively, saying, “Still, it’s the best. I think it’s a blessing in disguise.”
It is not that there are no starting resources, including ‘veteran’ Yang Hyun-jong, foreign pitcher Thomas Panoni, and ‘left-hander Young-gun’ Yoon Young-cheol. In addition, Hwang Dong-ha and Kim Geon-guk, who recently appeared as substitute starters, showed their potential by pitching well.
However, if Sanchez, who can hold the center of gravity as a foreign pitcher, can play his role, the burden will be much less on the team. Moreover, KIA, which had a tight schedule, was anxiously awaiting Sanchez’s return. In the end, only if Sanchez gets back on track will KIA be able to sustain itself by continuing to exert its strength until October. As of the 14th, the number of games canceled due to rain was as many as 22, and if things continue like this, KIA will have to play the regular season schedule until mid-October.
If Lee Ui-ri, who will wear the Taegeuk symbol, leaves the starting lineup for more than two weeks, the role of foreign pitchers will inevitably become more prominent. KIA just hopes that Sanchez returns healthy and quickly. It remains to be seen whether the Tigers’ dream of leaping to greater heights with the return of foreign pitchers will come true.