Lee Changed His Mindset After His Injury…”I’ll Do the Dirty Work, I Want the Team to Win”

Lee Jung-yong of the LG Twins was a highly touted amateur prospect who joined the team as a first-round pick in 2019. Once he turned pro, he established himself as one of LG’s key bullpen arms, and his role on the team grew to include more than 60 games for the second straight year in 2021 and last year.

This season, however, Lee got off to a rough start. He struggled through the month of April, going 2-1 with a 5.93 ERA in 15 games and 13⅔ innings pitched, and didn’t turn things around until May. On May 20, he was sidelined with a right shoulder injury and didn’t take the mound for nearly a month.

Shortly after returning from his injury, Lee took on a new challenge: starting pitching. He made his first start on June 25 against the Jamsil Lotte Giants, and all three of his appearances last month came out of the bullpen. Naturally, he entered the competition for the fifth spot alongside Lee Ji-kang.

Lee didn’t take a break during the All-Star break. He went to the second team for scrimmages, and on non-game days, he worked on his pitches in training. As a result, in his first start of the second half, on July 27 against the Suwon KT Wiz, he went four innings, the most since his debut, and in his home game against the Kiwoom Heroes on July 2, he threw six innings of three-hit ball with two strikeouts and no walks, his first quality start.

In particular, he threw more forkballs (27) than fastballs (22), and his curveball (9) was powerful enough to throw hitters off their timing. As it turns out, he had some help from his seniors. Kim Jin-sung, a veteran pitcher with a forkball, and Lim Chan-kyu, who was having a lot of fun with his curveball, reached out to Lee Jung-yong.

After the game, Lee said, “Honestly, I practiced during the break, but on the last day of the break, (Im) Chanyeong-kyu played me a catch. So I used it well in the second team game, and it helped me a lot.” He added, “Forkball was also something that (Kim) Jin-sung told me about, but honestly, just because someone tells you something doesn’t mean you can do it right away, so I practiced it, but it’s so good to see results. I think I found the feeling somehow,” he smiled.

The injury also served as a wake-up call for Lee. “Honestly, after I got sick, I stopped being greedy. I entered the second half of the season thinking, ‘I’ll do the heavy lifting, so I want the team to win,’ and that hasn’t changed,” he said. “In the five games I started, the team won four of them, so I’m happy that the team won regardless of the winning pitcher,” he added.토토사이트

When Kim Yun-sik returns later this month, he may have to move back to his original spot in the bullpen, but Lee emphasized that he has no desire to change positions, saying, “I’m still thinking about doing a good job because all I want to do when I’m on the mound is to throw the ball.”

After this season, Lee will take some time off to join the Merchant Marine Baseball Team (Armed Forces Athletic Corps). “I hope I don’t get injured and that that time turns into a turning point.

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