I even competed with KIA’s next-generation ace and Rookie of the Year… Desperate struggle ‘Again 2021’ 

 “I just said what are you doing. I was just asking if the 2nd group could take care of their physical strength… (Laughter)”

Lotte setup man Choi Jun-yong (22) was not included in the opening entry this year. After receiving the first nomination in 2020, it was an incident that could hurt his pride as a pivotal bullpen pitcher who played in 143 games for three years. In 2021, he is a pitcher who even competed with Lee Eui-ri (KIA) for the Rookie of the Year title. At that time, Choi Jun-yong recorded 4 wins, 2 losses, 20 holds, 1 save, and an average ERA of 2.85 in 44 games.

However, Choi Jun-yong slowed 메이저놀이터down with an average ERA of 4.06 with 3 wins, 4 losses, 14 saves and 6 holds in 68 games in the 2022 season. In this year’s demonstration game, he lost 1 in 5 games and had an average ERA of 13.50. It was evaluated that the fastball reliance was high, and the completion of the breaking ball was slightly lacking.

After the opening, Choi Jun-yong started to quench in the second group. With the help of pitching coach Lim Gyeong-wan, he focused on improving the perfection of the curve. He said, ahead of the match against Changwon NC on the 22nd, “I was excluded from the opening entry, but he admitted that it was my skill. He prepared again with the mindset that there was nothing more to fall behind in the second team. He has to do as much as the team expects from him in the first team.”

The first team has already given the homework of upgrading the completeness of the breaking ball. Choi Jun-yong said, “Pitching coach Bae Young-soo said, ‘I know the fastball is good, but practice so that you can use a breaking ball in a 2-strike no-ball. Practice your curves,’ he said. He added about three weeks of preparation, and I hope there will be good results.”

Choi Jun-yong throws a slider and changeup, but “I can’t say that both pitches are very good. Coach Lim Kyung-wan helped me practice curves. Since I was young, the pitch I was most confident in was the curveball. He practiced again and changed his grip a little bit.”

A breaking ball must be placed in the strike zone to maximize its effect even when used as a manned ball. If you can’t put it in the strike zone, it’s because the batter doesn’t respond. In the case of the curveball, it is good to shake the timing of batters because it has a large difference in velocity from the fastball.

Choi Jun-yong said, “It is also the type of pitch with the greatest difference in speed from the fastball. I practiced putting it in the strike zone. The team can win only when it becomes the first ball and does not give points.” He added, “While I was gone, (former) Seung-min hyung and (Kim) Won-joong hyung suffered a lot. We have to suffer together.”

I had to hear hateful comments from Seungmin Koo and Wonjoong Kim as a joke. “What are you doing?”, “Do you manage your physical strength in the 2nd group?”, etc. Of course, they would have welcomed Choi Jun-yong, who was registered for the first team entry on the 21st. Choi Jun-yong said, “You have to have a sense of responsibility. I will show a good image so that I do not go to the second group again. The team wins only when the 7th to 9th innings are well blocked.”

On the 21st, he made a successful comeback ceremony with Changwon NC Match, 1 inning, 1 hit and no run. On the 22nd, the Changwon NC match took his first hold of the season with 1 hit and no runs in ⅔ innings. Coach Larry Sutton said, “The fastball is an advantage, but I varied the ball combination. He was pitching, not throwing. He threw a strike using a new pitch and knocked the opponent off balance. It has grown one step.”

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