(Expoz News captain, reporter Choi Won-young) I thought it was such a big and far-flung dream. I made my own efforts and got closer one by one. Now, I proudly say that my goal is to become a “Taegeuk mark.”
KT Wiz right-hander Son Dong-hyun was listed on the 35-member reserve list of the Korean national team “Team Korea” to participate in the “U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB) World Tour Seoul Series 2024 Special Game with Coupang Play” announced by the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) on the 2nd.
The official opening two consecutive games of this year’s Major League will be held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on March 20 and 21 at 7:05 p.m. The San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers will face off. Prior to the main game, a total of four special games will be held at Gocheok Dome on March 17 and 18. The Dodgers and Kiwoom Heroes, Team Korea and San Diego, San Diego and the LG Twins, and Team Korea and the Dodgers will face off. South Korean major leaguers Kim Ha-sung and Ko Woo-seok of San Diego, and Ohtani Shohei of the big league superstar Dodgers will show their skills.
Son’s heart fluttered after checking the reserve list. “I really want to be selected (for the final list). Honestly, it’s hard for me to advance to the Major League. When will I play against major leaguers?” Son said. “I think it’s a huge opportunity.”
Until now, the word “national team” has been unfamiliar to me. “I never thought that I would be able to join the national team after coming to the professional stage. I never expected that I would get closer to the team,” Son said. “However, I made the preliminary entry for last year’s Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC). I failed to make the final roster and was eliminated at the threshold.”
“Rather than being disappointed, I thought, ‘I really want to join the national team’. I had a little bit of resentment,” he said. “So I really want to be selected this time. I think I didn’t get selected because of my lack of performance last year. I’ve never done that before, but this year, I’m going to try harder with the goal of ‘Taegeuk mark’ as a motivating factor.”헤라카지노
Son has grown enough to dream of becoming a member of the national team. After joining KT as the 21st choice in the second and third round in 2019 after passing Seongnam High School, Son joined the Sangmu Baseball Organization (military sports unit) in March 2021.
He instantly jumped to the must-win group last year, when he was returning to the season. He garnered eight wins, five losses, 15 saves, and an ERA of 3.42, in 73 ⅔ in 64 games during the regular season. He posted a double-digit hold for the first time in his career. He was second in his team’s hold. He played a key role in mid-range pitching in the post season. In all five playoff games, he pitched seven scoreless innings, boasting one win and one hold. The Korean Series series players played in four out of five games. They maintained the ERA until the first game, but each allowed one run in the second and third games. He gave no run in Game 5 again. He recorded an ERA of 4.91 with one win and one hold in three ⅔ innings.
Ahead of this season, he smiled in his annual contract. Son finished signing his contract at 120 million won, up 70 million won from 50 million won in 2023. He has entered the annual salary of 100 million won for the first time since his professional debut, showing an increase rate of 140 percent.
“I was really happy last year, but I was the runner-up in the Korean Series. I still haven’t watched the scene where I was hit with a home run by (the winning team) LG,” Son said. “Still, I gained confidence thanks to my experience last season. It definitely seems different. I gained a lot of trust in myself while preparing for the season.”
Park Young-hyun, the former setup man, will move to the closing pitcher. Son is one of the new setup man candidates. “Of course, I want to do it. I have to compete again. I will try to win the eighth inning,” he said. “I think it would be good if (Park) Young-hyun finishes the game and I take the mound in the eighth inning in front of him and show good pitching.”
“Our team’s pitching staff is very solid. I’m looking forward to seeing synergy effect if we compete with each other with good skills,” he said. “I’m trying to learn a lot from the older members. I couldn’t train with Kim Min-soo and Park Si-young (who were injured) last year, but I’m able to join them this year. They all have different strengths, so I’m going to ask them more.”
I was surprised to see Moon Yong-ik as compensation player for closing pitcher Kim Jae-yoon, who was transferred to the Samsung Lions as a free agent. “I thought he was a fast bowler, but he was really different when I saw him playing catch. I am trying to get closer to him by talking to him first,” Son said. “When I get closer, I will ask him how he keeps throwing balls up to 150 kilometers per hour. That’s because I am not a fast bowler.”
When asked about his strengths, he replied, “Personally, I think his pitch is okay. A middle pitcher has better pitch. I will make the most of his strengths.”
Of course, there are things that I want to make up for. “Bullet pitchers often have to strike out. Compared to last year’s innings, there were fewer strikeouts (40),” Son said. “I used to strike out a lot, but sometimes I need to strike out, so I’m trying to pay attention to that at this camp. I also talked with my pitching coach Je Chun-mo to make a pitch type that can strike out.”
“I have been throwing folk balls since last season. It didn’t feel complete in the regular season, but it was okay in the post season. I will not forget that feeling and do my best in the camp.”