Veteran right-hander Kim Kon-guk (35) has made a new nest with the KIA Tigers. He returned to the pro mound he dreamed of while sweating hard all winter with the goal of prolonging his playing career.
On the 11th, KIA announced the recruitment of three players without a team, including pitchers Kim Kon-guk and Kim Seung-hyun (31), and infielder Kim Yong-wan (20). Kim Kon-guk and Kim Seung-hyun, who can be used as intermediate relief pitches, are expected to help strengthen the depth of the pitching staff.
In a phone call with ‘Xports News’, Kim Kun-guk said, “I prepared hard for a year, and I am so happy that such good results came out. I am so grateful to my wife who made a lot of sacrifices for me and to those who helped me to go back to professional life.” I’m the oldest on the pitching staff, but I’ll prepare hard until spring camp and become a senior who can set an example for my juniors.”
After being released from the Lotte Giants after the end of the 2021 season, Kim Geon-guk did not let go of the string toward baseball. He steadily built his body while working as an educational program coach for young baseball dreamers, and in November of last year, he participated as a representative of Busan Metropolitan City in the ‘2022 City vs. Baseball Tournament’, recording a maximum speed of 144 km and showing off his rust-free skills.
Acquaintances also rolled up his arms to help Kim Geon-guk recover. With the support of the people around him, he improved his condition at the lesson center and CrossFit center in Busan from last fall, and as he was in good shape to pitch again, the KIA joining test continued.
The KIA joining test was conducted twice, from November of last year to the beginning of this year. During the first test, Konkuk Kim recalled, “I felt so good that I cried.” Kim Kon-guk’s wife also comforted him by saying, “Regardless of the test results, you received many opportunities and worked really hard.”
SSG Landers Roh Gyeong-eun (39) is also one of the people who encouraged Kim Kon-guk. Noh Kyung-eun was released from Lotte with Kim Kon-guk after the 2021 season, but wore the SSG uniform after an entrance test. He created a myth of human victory by wearing the championship ring in the Korean Series last year. 스포츠토토
Kim Kon-guk said, “I contacted Kyung-eun right away after receiving the KIA acceptance notice. Over the past year, the fact that Kyung-eun has consistently called me first and encouraged me has been a great source of strength.” I gained the courage to take on another challenge. I hope I can become a person who can give someone a little hope.”
Coincidentally, the new team, KIA, is a place full of good memories for Kim Kon-guk. His first professional debut win was at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field on October 13, 2018 while playing Lotte, as well as his overall Champions Field performance, 6 games, 17⅓ innings, 1 win, 1 loss, 1 hold, and an average ERA of 2.08.
Jang Hyeon-sik (28), who ate rice in one pot in NC, is also a reliable ally to Kim Kon-guk. During his joining test period, while exchanging good wishes for wanting to be together, they came together at KIA.
Kim Geon-guk said, “Champions Field is a place I will never forget for the rest of my life, where I won my first win in my first start. Even when I was playing for Lotte, going to Gwangju was as comfortable as a home game, but I’m really happy that it became my home stadium.” Lee told me to pass the exam even during rehabilitation, and I am so happy that it came true.