The NC Dinos have recently had concerns about operating their home turf. This is because Ahn Jung-yeol (28), who supported the main catcher Park Se-hyuk (33), also left due to injury.
Park Se-hyuk (576 innings) and Ahn Jung-yeol (335.1 innings) were responsible for 96.3% of the 949.1 innings played by NC catchers until the 28th this season. However, Park Se-hyuk was eliminated from the first division entry on the 14th due to tendinitis in his wrist and Ahn Jung-yeol was eliminated from the first division entry on the 28th due to an adductor muscle injury. The two’s series of departures, which had a huge proportion, is fatal. It cannot be overemphasized the importance of a catcher who is responsible for not only the basic role played on offense and defense but also the pitcher lead. The departure of the two homeowners, who took up an absolute proportion, was worrisome.
However, there is not enough time to regret. For NC, which is in a fierce mid-tier battle, it must endure by minimizing the gap between catchers who have left. This is why Kim Hyung-joon (24), who returned after being discharged from the Armed Forces Sports Unit (Sangmu), has a heavy shoulder.
Kim Hyung-joon had a considerable amount of experience by playing 159 games in the first division before joining the military. In 2019 and 2020, he even served as a backup for Yang Eui-ji (Doosan Bears). He made a late return match against the Incheon SSG Landers on the 24th because he underwent surgery for a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in August last year, ahead of his discharge. He made a strong impression by hitting consecutive at-bats home runs even before his return, but it seemed that it would take some time to wear a catcher’s mask. NC manager Kang In-kwon said, “(Kim Hyung-joon) still lacks chemistry with pitchers,” adding, “We are also with the starting pitchers when they pitch from the bullpen before the game and when the pitching staff warm up.”
However, as even Ahn Jung-yeol left, the period was moved forward. Kim Hyung-joon’s performance is essential until Park Se-hyuk and Ahn Jung-yeol return. Coach Kang said, “Kim Hyung-joon has strong shoulders,” adding, “It is not a shoulder that can be made acquired.” “I grew up with a natural talent and solid basic skills,” he expected. Kim Hyung-joon vowed to work hard, saying, “I am grateful to the Futures (second division) training parts and coaches for helping me return healthy.”