‘Released, reinstated, renamed, positioned’. A man with a “story” who has done it all has made it through his first first-team game as a pitcher. Kim Kang-hyun, 28, of the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization.

Kim Kang-hyun pitched two innings out of the bullpen against Hanwha on Thursday, allowing one run on one hit and one walk. Trailing 4-7 in the top of the seventh, Kim took the mound and got Hanwha’s leadoff hitter Moon Hyun-bin to ground into a double play before striking out Choi Jae-hoon and Lee Do-yoon to end the inning. In the eighth inning, Kim Kang-hyun took the mound and after walking the first batter, Lee Jin-young, on a full count, gave up a single to Noh Si-hwan for the first run of the game. However, he retired the next two batters in order to avoid further damage.

“I thought I would be nervous because it was my first start as a pitcher, but I didn’t feel nervous, and I felt good. I even reviewed the game afterward.” “I was very disappointed after the first hit. I should have thrown with more care,” he said. “After the game, I got a lot of congratulatory calls from friends and family, especially my wife, who watched the game on TV. She was more nervous than me, so she didn’t come to the right conclusion,” he laughed.

Kim’s baseball career has been, in a word, “eventful. After joining Lotte as a developmental player in 2015, Kim was initially a catcher. However, he was released three years later after failing to make an impact, and shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the army to resolve his military issues. Even after his discharge, Kim didn’t give up on his dream of playing baseball. He tried out for the team and once again donned a Lotte uniform. During this process, he changed his name (Kim Ho-joon before he was renamed) to make it easier on himself. By the end of 2021, he had made a bold switch from catcher to pitcher. In his first year as a pitcher, he didn’t fare too badly in the second-tier Futures League, going 4-2 with a 6.04 ERA in 16 games. This season, he went 3-3 with a 5.40 ERA in 10 games.

Kim finally made his first-team roster on Nov. 11. It’s been three years since he returned to the first team since 2020. He was eager to get back. “The reason I didn’t quit baseball was because I loved it so much,” Kim said. I told myself to keep going until I could play properly in a first-team game.” Kim is grateful to his second-team trainer, Kim Kyung-hwan. “Since I was in the rehabilitation program, Trainer Kim has helped me a lot in many ways. After my injury, my arm was not in good condition, but he took a close look at it and helped me to continue my career. I’m grateful.” 안전놀이터

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