It seems that he has a long way to return before the call-up of the Koo Chang-mo (NC), who was both a left-hander of the national university and 꽁머니 was expected to be an ace candidate. It is also likely that he will not be able to participate in the Asian Games. What should we do about the left-handed famine of the national baseball team, which has only two players.
Koo Chang-mo’s return to the field seems to be difficult until September. NC Dinos coach Kang In-kwon reported on Koo Chang-mo’s re-examination in mid-August ahead of the game against the Lotte Giants in Busan on the 2nd. He also said that after receiving a re-examination around mid-August, medical rehabilitation should be checked first.
NC coach Kang In-kwon said, “I think everyone knows that I have not entered technical training right now,” adding, “(Koo Chang-mo) is still in the rehabilitation stage, and decided to undergo a re-examination in three to four weeks after receiving a checkup on the 21st of last month. It hasn’t been revealed exactly whether it will be three weeks or four weeks yet, but I think it will be around mid-August,” he said, referring to Koo Chang-mo’s re-examination schedule in the future.
Only the re-examination schedule has been roughly released, but the technical training schedule has not been set yet. Koo Chang-mo was removed from the first-tier entry on June 3 due to damage to his left forearm flexor muscle. After rehabilitation in Japan, he returned to Korea on June 23, but was also diagnosed with a left arm ulnar fatigue fracture. Rehabilitation is being delayed further because it was a fracture that occurred again after surgery that was carried out due to injuries in the same area in 2021.
Director Kang In-kwon said, “I think I will have another checkup in three weeks, and I don’t know if I will have another checkup in one week or about four weeks, but I think I need to see the examination process and condition and schedule the next schedule.”
This means that there may be a situation where one more check-up may occur after receiving a re-examination in mid-August for a fatigue fracture of the ulnar fatigue fracture. In addition, even if the re-examination results well, it will inevitably take more time to start technical training and create a physical condition in which the ball is thrown. In fact, this is why his return before September is far away.
Since receiving NC’s nomination in the second first round (3 times overall) in 2015, Koo Chang-mo has played 163 games (628.2 innings) until last year, recording 46 wins, 34 losses, and a 3.74 ERA, followed by Kim Kwang-hyun (SSG) and Yang Hyun-jong (KIA).
In particular, Koo Chang-mo, who returned last season after overcoming a major injury, recorded 11 wins, 5 losses, and a 2.10 ERA in 19 games, making him a native ace of NC and the league’s best left-handed pitcher. This season, he showed good performance with 1 win, 3 losses, and a 3.26 ERA, but his glass body temperament recurred.
Koo Chang-mo’s rehabilitation is being delayed, which is the biggest misfortune for individual players and NC, but the national team is also on alert. The Korean national baseball team at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games in October will convene in September. Even if Koo Chang-mo’s recovery from injury shows a good prognosis by mid-August, it is difficult to guarantee that the rehabilitation period can be completed before the call-up, and it is not certain whether the ball will return to normal.
In reality, Ryu Joong-il’s national baseball team cannot wait for Koo Chang-mo’s return. Of the 12 national team pitchers announced in June, only three were left-handed, including Koo Chang-mo, and all nine were filled with right-handed players. If Koo Chang-mo is excluded from the national team, only KIA’s left-handed duo Choi Ji-min and Lee Eui-ri will remain.
Both Choi Ji-min and Lee Eui-ri are playing well in KIA this season, but they are not as heavy or experienced as Koo Chang-mo, who was originally designated and selected as the national team’s ace. As a result, Ryu Joong-il needs to be a left-handed pitcher to replace Koo Chang-mo or an ace comparable to that.