At the beginning of this season, the LG Twins had a lot of tailgate worries, as last year’s closer, Ko Woo-seok, was out for an extended period of time. They had the most blown saves of any team in the league at nine, and their interim closers changed frequently.

But two months after the start of the season, those worries have turned to dust. High school rookie Park Myung-geun has been pitching great and anchoring the LG bullpen.

Park, the 27th overall pick in the third round of the 2023 Korean Baseball Organization draft, has established himself as a “go-to” pitcher for LG. He has appeared in 23 games with a 1-5 record, four saves, and a 2.61 ERA. His saves rank first on the team.

Yeom has been using Park Myung-geun, whom he has been watching closely since he was the KBO’s technical commissioner last year. In January, he included Park as the only rookie on the roster for Arizona’s spring training in the U.S. and then added him to the regular season roster.

Park’s position has also been upgraded to the closer’s role and he is also serving as a temporary closer. “I trust him because he’s throwing his own ball,” Yeom said, adding, “He has a good mentality and has the temperament of a closer.”

In response, Park Myung-geun said, “I’m grateful that the coach has a positive view of me. Honestly, it must have been difficult for him to use a rookie pitcher as a closer, but I’m grateful for the opportunity.” “No matter what role I take on, if I do my best to do what I can, I will have a good chance. First of all, I’m just happy to be in a position where I can help the team,” he said.

“I was given the big role of closer (due to the team’s situation), and I was a little nervous at first. Now, when I get a save, I get to do tricks and prank my brothers. I feel like it’s a position where I can have fun and be happy.”

Park’s professional life hasn’t always been smooth sailing. In his season opener and professional debut on April 1, he gave up three runs without recording a single out and struggled to a 10.38 ERA (7 runs, 5 earned in 4 1/3 innings) in his first four games.

Park said, “I was very nervous in my first professional start. I was very nervous because it was my debut and there were runners on base. It was like I was playing a crazy game,” he recalled.

As time went on, Park began to settle down. After finishing April with a seven-game scoreless streak, he dazzled in May with a 1-0 record, five saves, and a 0.82 ERA.

“I think it was a difference of adaptation,” Park said. In April, I was experiencing the KBO for the first time and didn’t know exactly how to compete with batters and manage the game, but now I’m getting used to it little by little as I gain experience. I was able to listen to the advice of my seniors and make up for my shortcomings, and I was able to showcase my good form.”

With these spoils, Park Myung-geun was nominated for the Best 12 Sharing All-Star Middle Pitcher of the All-Star Game. He was selected to represent LG’s middle relief pitchers, beating out stellar seniors like Jung Woo-young and Ham Deok-ju. If Park is selected to the Best 12, he will be the fourth first-year high school rookie to be honored with an All-Star selection, following Ahn Chi-hong in 2009, Lee Jung-hoo in 2016 and Jeong Woo-young in 2019.

“It’s honestly unbelievable to see my name on the All-Star Game Best 12 list. It’s a great honor to be nominated and represent the team. Playing in such a big event will give me a good experience to grow into a good baseball player, and I can’t wait to play,” he said.

Park is also in the running for the once-in-a-lifetime Rookie of the Year award, along with KIA Tigers pitcher Yoon Young-chul and Lotte Giants outfielder Kim Min-seok. The jury is still out on the award, but if Park continues to perform as well as he has, he could very well win it.

He said, “I have greed for the rookie award. But I’m not playing for the rookie award, I’m playing for team performance. If I can help the team perform well, I think the award will naturally follow.”

In half a year, Park’s baseball life has changed. “Honestly, I’m proud and surprised that I’ve made it to a professional team and am consistently occupying a spot in the bullpen. Things that I couldn’t have imagined when I was an amateur continue to happen,” he said, adding, “I want to continue this trend.”토토사이트

Park’s position will change when Go Woo-seok returns to the first team roster on April 4 after recovering from a shoulder injury. “My role is to go on the mound and close in any situation,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the bullpen being stronger when (Ko) Woo-seok comes back. I had less time with Woo Seok-hyung, but I hope we can continue to play baseball together in the first team (without injury).”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *