The LG Twins have suffered an injury setback that has left their lead in the standings a bit shaky.
Foreign pitcher Plutko is expected to miss 4-5 weeks with an injury. Second-place KT has been on a scary run lately, and it’s an emergency on the starting mound. The starting rotation will be filled by Kim Yoon-sik, who has been improving his form in the second team.
Plutko was designated for assignment on Sept. 29. Plutko appeared against the Changwon NC on April 26 and threw four innings (80 pitches) before leaving the game early due to injury. “He was replaced for player protection due to left adductor muscle discomfort,” LG announced.
However, after undergoing a detailed examination, including an MRI, it was found to be a left pelvic bone contusion. LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop said on the 29th at Jamsil Stadium, “They say it will take four weeks. It’s not a torn (adductor), but a bruise. It will take four to five weeks to return. He should be back by the end of the season.”
With the remaining games scheduled for Oct. 10, he was hoping to return in early October.
Plutko has appeared in 21 games this season, going 11-3 with a 2.41 ERA. In Kelly’s absence, Plutko has been the primary ace. He had about two weeks to recharge after the first half, including the All-Star break. After his first start of the second half, he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and took another 10 days off. He pitched the last four games of the second half and risked injury.
A nightmare from last year Plutko was warming up for his start against the Incheon SSG on Sept. 25, the last day of the regular season last year, when he was unable to pitch normally due to gallbladder symptoms in his back. He walked the first batter he faced in the bottom of the first inning and was replaced.
He was subsequently removed from the first team roster and rehabbed and trained until the playoffs. Plutko started Game 2 of the playoffs against Kiwanis on October 25 and was pulled early after allowing six runs on eight hits in 1⅔ innings.
For the second year in a row, the injury bug bit him in a crucial late-season game. It will be important to see if he can regain his best form upon his return.
With Plutko out, Kim Yun-sik was given the opportunity to start. Kim struggled in early June, going 3-4 with a 5.29 ERA in 11 appearances.
Coach Yeom realized that Kim’s physical condition was not good enough, so he rebuilt his body from the ground up, like a spring training with the second team. After a month of training, Kim appeared in the Futures League from mid-July, going 1-1 with a 5.52 ERA in four games for the second team.
Kim was called up to the first team on July 29. Yeom said, “Yoon-sik will do well. I gave him enough time to prepare. I received a report that he was getting better in the second team. We’ve been preparing alternatives for situations like this, so we need to deal with Plutko’s absence well.” In addition to Kim Yun-sik, Lee Min-ho and Kang Hyo-jong have been rotating in the second team to prepare for the temporary start.
With KT trailing by 4.5 games, LG gave its bullpen core, Ham Deok-ju, a break. Ham Deok-ju was removed from the first team roster on the 29th. The rest is to prevent injury.
In 57 appearances this season, Ham has pitched 55⅔ innings with a 4-4 record, four saves, and a 1.62 ERA in 16 appearances. That’s a lot of innings compared to the 21 and 12⅔ innings he pitched in the first team due to injuries in 2021 and 2022, respectively. It surpassed the 54⅔ and 55⅓ innings he pitched for Doosan in 2019 and 2020 when he was healthy.
“Maybe it’s because he pitched a lot of innings for the first time in a long time,” Yeom said, “and his recovery after pitching is a little slower. If he keeps going like this, he might be out longer due to injury, so I gave him a break as a precaution.”메이저놀이터
The key pitcher in the bullpen will not be available for the three-game series against KT next week. “He hasn’t been good lately. His condition is not 100%. It’s much more important with 30 games left than now. There’s a good chance we can win the game there.”