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Eagles to start 2 newbie pitchers

July 19,2018
이미지뷰
Kim Jin-young
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Kim Sung-hoon
Hanwha Eagles manager Han Yong-duk is taking his chances with the club’s starting rotation.

Right when the Eagles need to maintain their second-place standing in the league, Han won’t have the team’s two foreign pitchers for its weekend series against the Samsung Lions. Instead of using his existing bullpen to replace the two strong starters, Han will instead start two younger players, Kim Jin-young and Kim Sung-hoon.

After Keyvius Sampson picked up his 10th win of the season against the KT Wiz on Tuesday, he headed back home to the United States to take paternity leave.

The Eagles released Jason Wheeler after his game against the Nexen Heroes on July 12 and signed David Hale as his replacement. The team will have to wait until July 26 for him to join the rotation as Hale has to undergo medical tests and receive his visa.

“I’ll have to talk with the player, but [I’m] planning on starting him in a game against the Kia Tigers in Daejeon on July 26,” said Han.

The starters for this weekend, Kim Jin-young and Kim Sung-hoon, are only in their second year in the KBO and Han hopes to develop their potential as future stars for the team.

Kim Jin-young, 26, was drafted by the Eagles in 2017 after spending seven years in the United States. In 17 KBO Futures League games, Kim Jin-young picked up four wins and three losses with a 6.03 ERA. In three KBO games last season, he had an ERA of 10.12. Though his statistics aren’t too impressive, Kim Jin-young received a lot of attention from KBO clubs while he was in high school.

Kim Sung-hoon, who was also drafted by the Eagles in 2017, picked up six wins and two losses with a 3.79 ERA in 17 Futures League games this season. Kim has a high release point, as he’s 1.86 meters (six feet one inch) tall, and can throw a fastball in the mid-140 kilometers (87 miles) per hour range. Kim Sung-hoon recently played in the Futures League All-Star game.

“I am very excited,” Kim Sung-hoon said. “I’ll have the same mindset as if I’m starting in a Futures League game.”

Han said that he’s consistently focused on developing his younger pitchers’ confidence on the mound.

“They shouldn’t be pitching like they’re running away,” Han said. “It’s important for them to throw their pitches. I’ve been saying this to other pitchers in the past. And if I don’t think they get my message, then I won’t give them the chance [to play] for long.”

As Kim Jin-young and Kim Sung-hoon have little to no experience in the KBO, Han is hoping to see their potential this weekend.

“If they are confident in their pitching, then I will try to watch them for as long as possible,” Han said.

The weekend games will also determine whether the two pitchers will retain their spots on the Eagles roster or get sent back down to the Futures League. As of Wednesday 6 p.m., the Eagles are in second place in the KBO, two games ahead of the SK Wyverns. The Eagles are in a good position to advance to the postseason for the first time in 11 years and are expected to make aggressive decisions with their roster at this point of the season to finish 2018 strong.

BY AN HEE-SOO [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]