It’s time to take a break. Kim Min-woo (28, Hanwha),안전놀이터 who threw 8837 pitches, the most among domestic pitchers in the KBO League for the past four years from 2020, was diagnosed with a shoulder injury for up to three months. He threw a lot and suffered enough, so it was time to take a break.
Kim Min-woo felt discomfort in his shoulder in the match against Lotte on the 14th, and went down after only throwing one inning. The next day, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) examination revealed a partial tear in the deltoid muscle of the right shoulder, and it was found that rehabilitation was required for up to three months. Kim Min-woo, who moved to the Seosan Rehabilitation Army with the cancellation of the first team entry, is expected to be seen after the extended entry in September at the earliest.
Kim Min-woo has been in the starting rotation full-time since 2020 and has thrown 502⅔ innings in 96 games (94 starts) over the past four years. It was the 8th most pitched innings in the KBO League during this period, ranking third among domestic pitchers after Lotte Park Se-woong (528⅓ innings) and Samsung Won Tae-in (527⅓ innings).
Based on the number of pitches, Kim Min-woo had 8837 pitches, which was tied for sixth place with Park Se-woong during this period and the most among domestic pitchers. Due to the circumstances of the Hanwha team, which has weak pitching ability, they tried to throw at least one more inning without skipping the rotation. On September 4 last year, against Daejeon NC, he had a complete victory with 106 pitches and 1 run in 9 innings.
Kim Min-woo himself showed pride in his ability to digest innings. Even in 2021, when he won 14 personal wins, he put more meaning on 155⅓ innings. Kim Min-woo, who increased his record to 163 innings last year, set a goal of 170 innings this season, a step up this season, saying, “After three years of full-time selection, I have come to some extent with my inning digestion.”
However, injuries made it difficult to achieve the goal. In the Munhak SSG match on the 14th of last month, Guillermo Heredia’s assault batted ball hit his right arm in the 4th inning. He thought it was a major injury, but was surprised by a simple bruise and wiped his chest. He returned after skipping the starting rotation once, but was re-exited, this time due to shoulder pain.
A pitcher’s arms and shoulders are often compared to chalk, but even Kim Min-woo, who has thrown many pitches for four years, is tired. Foreign pitchers such as David Buchanan (Samsung), Eric Yokishi (Kiwoom), and Casey Kelly (LG), who have thrown more pitches than Kim Min-woo over the past four years, are not as good as before. Drew Luchinski (Oakland), who returned to the US major league, is also showing a clear decline.
Kim Min-woo’s average fastball speed dropped from 140.8 km last year to 139.4 km this year based on PTS. He didn’t have speed, and his main weapon, a forkball, didn’t work either. As a result, he won 12 games (51⅔ innings) this season with an average ERA of 6.79. After establishing himself as a full-time starter, he performed poorly. It’s unfortunate, but it’s time for him to take a ‘sabbatical’ for the next one and focus on recovering his shoulder.