Samsung Lions’ “homegrown ace” Won Tae-in, 23, has effectively ended his season prematurely due to a hand injury. He will now focus on the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.
The Samsung Lions removed Won from the first-team roster ahead of their away game against the KT Wiz at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on April 19.
Samsung head coach Park Jin-man spoke to reporters ahead of the game and said, “We have removed Won Tae-in from the first team roster. He felt pain in the muscle between his thumb and index finger on his right hand, and he said he couldn’t do it. I think he needs to take care of himself before joining the national team, so I removed him from the roster today.”
Won earned the win against KT on April 14, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits (one home run), one walk, one hit-by-pitch, and six strikeouts in six innings. However, he felt pain while pitching and was eventually removed from the first team roster.
Still, he did his best this year. Won went on to start 25 games this season, posting a 7-6 record with a 3.17 ERA, and was an integral part of the Lion Legion’s starting rotation. In 145 total innings pitched this year, Won has allowed 150 hits (14 home runs), 33 walks, 100 strikeouts, 58 runs (51 earned), a WHIP of 1.26 and a batting average of .266. He pitched 17 quality starts (6 innings or less).
Of course, it was a disappointing season for Won, who went 14-7 with a 3.06 ERA in 2021 and 10-8 with a 3.92 ERA in 2022. Still, Won has pitched more than 100 innings in five consecutive seasons, dating back to his rookie year in 2019.
In particular, Won received a lot of love from the public as a “symbol of fighting spirit” at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in Tokyo, Japan, in March. At that time, Won threw 108 pitches in four games over seven days, including an exhibition game against the Hanshin Tigers. He pitched his heart out for his country in every game and showed his indomitable will.
It’s unlikely we’ll see Wontaein in the KBO anymore this season. If the Hangzhou Asian Games team advances to the finals, the final will be held on October 7. Even if Won does return home the following day on Oct. 8, it’s likely he won’t play the rest of the way and will focus on resting. 안전놀이터
Won was originally scheduled to make his final start on Oct. 22 against Doosan in Daegu. He was then scheduled to join the Hangzhou Asian Games squad a day later at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, but he will join the team without a start.
“He needs to be in good shape (to pitch on the 22nd),” Park said. But he said he was still feeling uncomfortable, so we made the decision (to cancel the first-team roster). Of course, it’s unfortunate for the team because the starting lineup is in a difficult situation,” Park said, “but I don’t think it will be a problem for him to join the national team and throw the ball because of the date.”
Now, the team needs to find a replacement for Won Tae-in. “As Won Tae-in’s expulsion was decided today (20th), we haven’t found a replacement. There is still time,” Park said, adding that he was cautious.
What kind of commitment will Won Tae-in show at the Hangzhou Asian Games?