28 October 2023

Kim Tae-hyung Eye Dojo Early ‘bang’, 151km high-speed sidearm “Do you think the director will recognize me?”

By pestfood.com

Woo Kang-hoon, 21, has been praising Kim Tae-hyung since his days as a commentator, and now he’s taking over as manager of the same team. Lotte Giants’ ‘high-speed sidearm’ Woo Kang-hoon (21) is looking forward to meeting new manager Kim Tae-hyung (56).

Woo Kang-hoon met with Star News at Sangdong Baseball Stadium in Gimhae, Gyeongnam, where Lotte’s final training is being held on the 28th and said, “I received a lot of calls from people saying, ‘The manager who praised me a lot during commentary is coming, so he will do a good job.’ I wondered if he would recognize me,” he smiled.

For most baseball fans, Woo Kang-hoon is an unfamiliar name. A graduate of Hopedae Choe, Masongjoong, and Yatapgo, Woo was selected by Lotte in the fifth round of the 2021 KBO Rookie Draft. At the time, Lotte had swept up a number of prospects, including catcher Son Sung-bin (first round pick), pitcher Kim Jin-wook, and infielder Na Seung-yup (second round pick), and Woo was part of the “golden draft. But before he even turned pro, he underwent Tommy John surgery (elbow ligament splicing) and rehabilitated, and in late 2021, he joined teammate Hong Min-ki (22) as an active duty soldier in the Army.

After being discharged from the military in May, Woo immediately joined the roster, appearing in 16 games for the second team and posting a 4.38 ERA in three appearances with no wins or losses. After the conclusion of the Futures League schedule, Lotte converted Woo from a developmental player to a full-time player and enrolled him in the first team ahead of the last four games. He made his first-team debut against Sasik LG on the fifth, pitching two perfect innings. His fastball reached a whopping 151 kilometers per hour, which is fast for a side arm.

Kim, who was a commentator for SBS Sports at the time, was in awe of Woo’s pitching. “The ball itself can give a passing grade in the first team,” he said, adding, “He’s flexible and has a good arm swing. In particular, he praised a body-high fastball that induced a false swing, saying, “If it goes in like that, it won’t be easy to hit Woo’s pitches.”

Kim continued to speak highly of Woo Kang-hoon, and on the 20th of this month, he was appointed as the 21st manager of Lotte. With 645 career wins and three Korean Series titles under his belt with the Doosan Bears, Kim’s arrival had the Lotte players excited.

“He didn’t say anything when we shook hands, but he seemed to have a good impression. I felt like he was very enthusiastic,” he said of his first impression. When Kim watched Woo pitch out of the bullpen, he didn’t say much, just a quick “good job” and left.

“I didn’t know he was going to be my coach (during my debut), but I was grateful for all the nice things he said at the time. I guess I didn’t expect much,” he said, adding, “Now that you’re coming as a coach, I think I have to do better than what I showed then.” He also said, “I wondered if he would recognize me from then.”

Earlier, Woo Kang-hoon had a meeting with Kim on the 26th of this month, where he tried to honor his new commander’s orders. At the time, Kim said, “You say you’re doing weight training in the winter to build your body, but you can’t build your body with weight training. You have to build your body by playing baseball,” Kim told the young players. After hearing this, Woo Kang-hoon said, “I think I need to build my body as much as possible so that my fastball doesn’t drop, and I need to keep throwing the ball from December, so that I can join the spring training in February and throw the ball well.”토토사이트

Looking back on the season, Woo summarized it as “a great year.” “I think the club gave me a lot of opportunities, and I felt like I should give back more,” he said, adding that he was grateful for the fact that he was able to pitch in the first team right after leaving the army.

Now, Woo has a new goal for next year. He wants to attend a spring training camp abroad. Woo hasn’t been to an overseas camp since joining the team in 2021. In his first season, the camp was held at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan due to COVID-19, and since then, he hasn’t had the opportunity due to his military service. “My goal is to go to a camp after I get out of the military. I really want to go to a first-team camp, and I hope I can,” he said.