Dramatic Lotte retention with gold medal…ace acknowledged by champion’s boss, expects “no nerves”

Dramatic Lotte retention with gold medal…ace acknowledged by champion’s boss, expects “no nerves”

For Lotte’s “native ace,” Park Se-woong, 28, 2023 was a turning point in his baseball career.

In March, Park started against the Czech Republic at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) and pitched 4⅔ innings of no-hit ball, allowing just one hit and striking out eight. It was an invaluable victory for the Korean national team, which was coming off back-to-back losses to Australia and Japan.

Park received another call-up to the national team. After earning a wild-card invite to the Hangzhou Asian Games in October, Park pitched a perfect game in the Super Round against Japan, striking out nine and walking none in six innings to help South Korea reach the final. South Korea defeated Chinese Taipei in the final to win the gold medal, allowing Park to focus on his baseball career while receiving military service benefits. If South Korea hadn’t won the gold medal, he would have been forced to enlist in the military after the season.

That doesn’t mean he was neglecting his team. Park showed the true colors of a homegrown ace this year, pitching 154 innings in 27 games with a 9-7 record and a 3.45 ERA.

Now, Lotte has turned over a new leaf with the hiring of manager Kim Tae-hyung, who is known as a “winning coach. “He is a player who can be said to be an ace aside from the current foreign pitchers,” said Kim Tae-hyung, adding, “He should definitely take pride in being an ace, and there will be no nervousness or impatience because the military issue has been resolved, so I think he will definitely show better performance than now.”

On being recognized as a ‘homegrown ace’ by coach Kim Tae-hyung, Park Se-woong said, “I have to reciprocate as much as the coach says and expects. Only then can we continue to build trust,” he said, adding, “I will prepare well and show a good performance.”

It seems that he will have to focus on ‘recovery’ for the rest of the year, as he has played two international tournaments and a full regular season this year. Park Se-woong also said, “I think I need to pay more attention. I’m going to have to take better care of my body because I started playing early in the WBC this year,” he said.

Park, who signed a non-free agent multi-year contract with Lotte for up to 9 billion won over five years in October last year, is now facing a lot of speculation that his baseball career will take off after he resolves his military issues. However, Park Se-woong said, “Everyone is saying that I will play baseball with a relaxed mind because my military problems have been resolved, but in fact, I don’t think I will go up to the mound with a relaxed mind because I am able to focus on baseball. I will go up to the mound with the mindset of being responsible for the game,” he said, adding that he will only take on more responsibility as an ace. 보스토토 도메인

Lotte is expected to build a solid starting pitching staff next year, as the foreign one-two punch of Aaron Wilkerson-Charlie Barnes has shown some stable pitching this year, and Na Kyun-ahn has shown the potential to grow into a homegrown ace, along with Park Se-woong. And Park Se-woong is at the center of it all.


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