LG Twins’ Choi Won-tae took the mound for the first time in a while. He checked his physical condition in a home game.
Choi Won-tae pitched one scoreless inning as the home team’s starting pitcher in their own Blue-Black Game at Icheon LG Champions Park on Wednesday. He threw nine pitches. His fastball reached 145 kilometers.
He retired the first three batters he faced, Ahn Ik-hoon on a fly ball to right field, Jung Joo-hyun on a fly ball to second base, and Son Ho-young on a fly ball to center field.
Choi Won-tae came to LG from Kiwoom via trade on July 29.
The move was made to bolster the homegrown starting lineup. The team acquired prospect Lee Ju-hyung and rookie pitcher Kim Dong-gyu in exchange for a first-round pick.
A day later, on July 30, he pitched a six-inning no-hitter against Doosan to win the game. But after that, it was disappointing. He was up and down and struggled. He finished with a 3-3 record and a 6.70 ERA in nine games in an LG uniform.
After giving up two runs on five hits (one home run) with four walks and three strikeouts in 4⅔ innings against Doosan on September 30, his last game of the season, he was removed from the first team to manage his health.
He joined the Icheon training camp on Sept. 19 and pitched against the Cheongbaeik on the same day. It was his first game in 23 days. He finished with a scoreless first inning. He also checked his changeup, curveball, and other pitches.
“I threw a changeup and it floated, so I thought, ‘Why is it floating? I lost a lot of ground. I’m not satisfied, but I think I need to fill in the gaps while preparing.”
Choi Won-tae was named the starter for Game 2 of the Korean Series. He had a huge task to fill Adam Plutko’s spot. 스포츠토토
“After being traded, I wasn’t able to contribute to the team at the end of the season. I’m determined to show that in the Korean Series.”
He also increased the number of pitches he threw to make sure he was in good shape. There are two more games to go. He plans to throw 70 pitches in his final outing before starting the Korean Series.
“It’s a big game, so I’m preparing by paying attention to my command and location,” Choi said. “No matter what team we play, we just need to do our job well. If our individual preparations come out well, rather than being conscious of the opponent, I think the cogs will mesh well and we will do well.”
Choi Won-tae has pitched in the Korean Series before. He appeared in one game in 2019 and posted a 13.50 ERA in two innings of work, and struggled in four games last year, going 1-1 with one save and a 7.36 ERA in 3⅔ innings of work with four runs (three earned).
His poor performance in the Korean Series gave him even more motivation to redeem himself. He still hasn’t forgotten what happened to him. In Game 5 of the 2022 Korean Series, Choi bowed his head after being hit by a game-tying three-run homer by SSG Kim Kang-min.
“I’ve been to two (Korean Series),” Choi said. I’m winless in the postseason. I’ll be ready for the bullpen. If you ask me to, I’ll do it. It’s a given,” Choi said, expressing his determination.