The opening entry was eliminated. This is an ordeal that Lotte Giants Choi Jun-yong (22) faced after 4 years of debut.
Since his first call-up to the first team in July 2020, the first year of his debut, Choi Jun-yong has always been treated as a class A bullpen in the team. He suffered injuries twice, but when he wasn’t injured, he was in the pilseungjo or equivalent position.
The beginning of the 2023메이저놀이터 season did not go as planned. He was guaranteed a sufficient opportunity to play even during the demonstration game. He didn’t have very good grades, but he didn’t doubt himself.
But the coaching staff thought differently. Lotte manager Larry Sutton and pitching coach Bae Young-soo excluded Choi Jun-yong from the opening entry. Even after the condition was created to a certain extent, it was not easily promoted to the first team. He went through thorough verification at Futures.
He made his first appearance of the season only on April 21, three weeks after the opening. In the meantime, his rivals also increased. Kim Jin-wook is having the best year of his life, and veteran Kim Sang-soo is also one of the pillars of Pil Seung-jo. Koo Seung-min and closer Kim Won-joong are alive and well.
Choi Jun-yong also had a hard time planting. He is continuing his reverse pitching with an earned run average of 0 while playing 9 games and 7 innings. It is said that his pitch has improved a lot compared to the beginning of the season. As a result, his confidence increased even more.
There was no shade on the face of Choi Jun-yong, whom we met on the 14th. He was the last of the Lotte players who warmed up in the outfield to return to the dugout. He warmed up enough on the outfield grass and checked his pitching condition again in the bullpen. He is also active in fan service as usual.
Now, Choi Jun-yong is regaining his position little by little. On this day, he took the mound as the team’s second pitcher following Starter Strayley, and blocked 1⅔ innings well with no runs. Lotte won 8-3 and decorated the weekend series with winnings.
Choi Jun-yong entered the interview with a bright smile. Reporter Kim Young-rok
Carefully, I asked what he was thinking when he was eliminated from the opening entry. Choi Jun-yong emphasized, “It’s important to admit the truth. I accepted the reality and decided to work harder, ‘until it is done’. I did it until it was real.” On the inside of his hat was the number 18 along with the phrases ‘every effort’ and ‘until it is done’.
What has changed in Choi Jun-yong? He brought up the name of training coach Kim Hyun-wook. Coach Kim is in charge of Lotte’s ‘hell training’ this year, while helping coaches Bae Young-soo and Kang Young-sik, serving as an assistant pitching coach.
“When throwing the ball, the timing of kicking and then going out has become much shorter. Before, the power was dispersed as the left knee and shoulder opened together, so the pitch was not good. I am training intensively to correct that one. These days, little by little, results are coming in. I feel good because I feel that my pitch is definitely improving as the balance is established.”
At the beginning of the season, Lotte coach Larry Sutton repeated the answer, “I’m watching. We have to wait and see until we get a fight.”
“To be honest, I was a bit ill at the beginning of the season… There is no problem now. I have fully recovered.