Doosan Bears’ original swingman Park So-jun, 28, has finally returned to the first team after a long rehabilitation tunnel. “I wanted to play baseball so badly,” he said when we caught up with him on the field.먹튀검증

Park was added to the first-team roster alongside left-handed rookie pitcher Baek Seung-woo ahead of the 12th game of the season against SSG Landers at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on April 13. The spot opened up when the shoulder-injured Park Chi-guk and slumping Kim Jung-woo were waived, and Park’s 0.90 ERA in three games in the Futures League marks his return to the first team for the first time in nearly two years, since October 2021. His fastball topped out at 147 kilometers in the second team.

“I wanted to make it to the first team this year, and I’m so happy that I got lucky,” Park said, “I wanted to play baseball so badly, because I couldn’t. I didn’t feel nervous when I threw in the second team, and it was so much fun. It was so good to throw while thinking about what I hadn’t been able to do,” he said with childlike joy.

Park, who joined the Doosan Development Academy in 2013 after leaving Cheongju, made an emotional first-team debut two years later, but remained in obscurity after posting an 11.57 ERA in three games. He made a name for himself in 2020, when he stepped into the starting lineup after Chris Flexen and Lee Yong-chan were sidelined with injuries and excelled in his replacement role, earning his first win with a six-inning no-hitter against the LG on June 20.

Park failed to regain his place in the lineup in the highly anticipated 2021 season, prompting him to change his name. Ahead of the 2022 season, he decided to change his name from Jong-ki to So-joon. The name office explained that the character ‘Ki’ in Jonggi was not suitable for an athlete, so in October 2021, he changed his name to Sojun, which means ‘versatile in many ways’.

The change didn’t work. He was given plenty of opportunities in both the starting and bullpen roles, but failed to live up to the hype, going 4-4 with a 5.73 ERA in 22 games without a win. To make matters worse, he suffered from elbow pain and underwent two surgeries in late April and early May last year. With dreams of a better career after his name change, he took the entirety of last year off.

“I had a lot of trouble in the beginning of my rehabilitation, and I even fell down once because I was greedy,” Park said. “The players who had surgery told me that it’s good to work hard, but it gets better over time. And it did get better over time. They gave me a lot of advice, especially Kwak Bin, who had undergone surgery, who talked a lot about the importance of recovery,” he said.

“After rehabilitation, I was more worried about the pain than the recovery. I could tolerate the pain, but I was afraid that my throwing mechanics would change,” he said. “I was told that my arm would fall off if I kept trying not to use it. I practiced harder and held my arm higher because I was afraid that it would actually fall off.”

After three games in the Futures League, Park has been given the number 38. It is the number of Kwon Hwi, who enlisted in the military. Coach Lee Seung-yeop said, “He hasn’t pitched in the first team for more than a year, so it’s hard to use it from the beginning. I will pitch him in a comfortable situation first. He has pitched in three games since his surgery, and his performance is good.”

Park So-joon said, “I’ve been sick all along. I’m going to continue to do well.” “I should have been able to help the team a lot when they were struggling, but I think there was a big void. Even now, I will try to go out and do my best to help my pitching brothers and sisters wherever they are struggling,” he said.

Leave A Comment

Recommended Posts