NC Dinos homegrown left-handed ace Koo Chang-mo (25), who is on track to return to the first team, could be on a flight to Hangzhou.
Koo threw a live pitch at Masan Stadium on the 13th. He threw 30 pitches in two rounds of 15 pitches. He mixed his fastball with a forkball, slider, and curveball, and his fastball reached 140 kilometers per hour, according to the NC team.스포츠토토
After three months of rehabilitation, he was close to making his first pitch.
On June 2, Koo was removed from the game against the LG Twins in Jamsil after throwing just five pitches due to discomfort in his left arm. He hasn’t been on the mound since.
A medical examination after the discomfort was diagnosed as a micro-injury to the flexor pollicis longus muscle in his left arm. A second opinion at the end of June worsened the injury with a fatigue fracture of the left ulna.
After being told last month that his left arm bone density had recovered 100 percent, Koo went through an intensive throwing program (ITP) and started pitching out of the bullpen earlier this month.
He threw 20 pitches in front of the plate and 10 pitches at a normal distance on the 5th of this month, and then threw bullpen pitches normally. On the 7th, he threw 30 pitches in the bullpen, and on the 10th, he threw 50 pitches with a mix of fastballs and changeups.
After completing a live pitching session in which he threw the ball with the bases loaded, Koo will pitch one inning in a Futures (second team) league game on the 16th. He is expected to join the first team the following week if he feels fine.
NC manager Kang Myung-hyun has expressed his intention to use Koo Chang-mo as a bullpen pitcher immediately after he joins the first team.
To return to the starting rotation, he will need to increase his pitch count, which will take more time. The plan is for him to pitch in the bullpen in the first team to increase his pitch count in order to adapt quickly.
One of the reasons for his accelerated return is the Hangzhou Asian Games.
A “healthy” Gu is a resource for the national team as an ace. In 2020, he went an impressive 9-0 with a 1.74 ERA in 15 games before suffering a left arm injury, and last year he went 11-5 with a 2.10 ERA after only joining the team in late May due to injury.
However, he was plagued by the injury bug. The World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March of this year was the only time he made the senior national team without an age limit, despite being considered the team’s next left-handed ace.
Prior to this year’s WBC, the 2017 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) squad, which only features players under the age of 24, was his only experience as a professional.
Koo made the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12 squad in 2019, but a back injury forced him to withdraw from the national team, and he missed the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 2021 as he rehabilitated from a stress fracture in his left forearm.
He’s a solid performer as long as he’s not injured, so when Ryu Joong-il, the head coach of the Korean National Baseball Team, announced his final roster after Koo Chang-mo’s departure, he kept him on the roster, believing he could recover by September.
As Koo gets closer to returning to the first team, Ryu is keeping a close eye on his status. He decided to announce the alternate starting lineup just before the 23rd.
However, it’s unlikely that Koo will be able to step in and play the ace role as expected. With less than ten days to go before the call-up, it’s impossible for him to get in shape for the starting role.
Even though he’s been rehabbing carefully, it feels like he’s rushing his return, which could lead to a recurrence of the injury.
Koo’s determination is strong.
He struggled at the WBC, his first major tournament, and was part of the team’s first-round exit. On top of that, he still hasn’t resolved his military issues.
If he recovers from his injury in time for the first team, it will be up to Liu and the rest of the national team coaching staff to decide whether or not he makes the final roster. It won’t be an easy decision as he’s only just returned to action.