There are countless words to describe Yang Hyun-jong (35, KIA), but one of them is ‘responsibility.’ He is a player who has never used tricks. He believes that if he is a starting pitcher, he should be a part of the rotation. And he is a player who tried to keep that belief in any way possible.
In the process, he built a career that will be remembered in KBO league history. As of the 4th, he has pitched a total of 2,281 innings in the KBO League’s first team. Since he pitched 171⅓ innings in 2014, he has pitched more than 170 innings for eight consecutive seasons until last year. It is a medal that only Yang Hyun-jong has and has never existed in the history of the KBO League. While pitching so sincerely, he achieved 166 wins, and if the KBO Hall of Fame is created in the future, he created a milestone that will allow him to be inducted on the first round.
Hyeonjong Yang is now in his mid-30s. He is not a 20-year-old who chewed on stones. This is a time when the need for physical fitness has become greater. Still, he is a player who has never said he would rest first. After the Incheon SSG game on the 1st, Yang Hyun-jong said, “I want to throw a lot of innings. I have to play a role that does not put pressure on the middle pitcher and the next starting pitcher as much as possible. I tried to do it accordingly.” However, the one break that came by chance seemed to have slightly changed the perspective of Yang Hyeon-jong, who had been ‘stubborn’ in this area.
Starting from the opening of the second half, Yang Hyun-jong’s pitching content took a downward trend. KIA coach Kim Jong-guk explains that his velocity has dropped, and detailed tracking data shows worse numbers than when he was at his best. The number of cases of being beaten like that has increased. Then the coaching staff suggested a break. There was a long way left to run until the end of the season. Rather, it was an invitation to take a comma for a moment and look back.
Perhaps even 3-4 years ago, Yang Hyeon-jong might not have accepted this. Somehow he would have found a way to stay in the rotation and normalize his performance. But this time his heart was moved. Yang Hyun-jong confessed, “I thought that holding back and throwing any longer wasn’t really helpful to the team. I also had the feeling that I wanted to rest a little,” and added, “The manager and coach also said, ‘It’s not that you’re not going down because you can’t do it, you look too exhausted. Rest a little bit.'” “He said,” he recalled of that unusual time.
Due to urgent team circumstances, it was not possible to give the team a long break. The coaching staff, considering Yang Hyun-jong’s rest, also set a condition of ’10 days’. However, those ten days, or rather the first three days, served as an opportunity to broaden Yang Hyeon-jong’s horizons a little. He pitched once, then didn’t have to think about pitching again five days later. It was the first emotional relief he had had in a long time in his professional career. His first three days, he didn’t even go to the baseball field. He didn’t even wear spikes. Just spent time with his family at home.
Then the world started to look a little different. In the fierce battlefield, I began to see things I had not normally seen because I was paying attention to the enemy in front of me. Yang Hyun-jong said, “I had a good time with my family without even going to the baseball field. While watching baseball on TV, I think I felt like I wanted to return to the field as soon as possible.” On the one hand, he recalled his old memories while watching the young players training hard in the second team. I looked back on my original intention. Hyeonjong Yang summed up his feelings with the word ‘healing.’메이저사이트
I reflected on my resolve and gained motivation again. He was grateful and sorry to his colleagues who did their best during his time away. He had to cheer up. Fortunately, the results were good after rest. On August 26th, he pitched well against Hanwha in Gwangju, allowing 2 runs in 6 innings. He has passed the turning point. In the match against Incheon SSG on the 1st, he pitched 7 innings, allowing 2 hits and no runs. He probably had one of his best pitches of the season, just based on the content of the game. It was the power of refresh. Perhaps even the stubborn Yang Hyeon-jong felt that power.
Although he will continue to have a strong sense of responsibility, Yang Hyeon-jong will take note that sometimes, ‘there is a way to go back.’ One more option has been added to the navigation path toward your goal. It may be a major turning point in his career. Now that he has regained his energy, it is time to give his best for the team. KIA has risen to 4th place thanks to the recent 8 consecutive wins, but there are still many challenges ahead. Yang Hyeon-jong’s strength is absolutely necessary.
Personally, I continue to run towards legends. Yang Hyun-jong, who ranked second in KBO League history for most wins (166 wins), surpassed Song Jin-woo (163 wins), who was first in history in terms of wins as a starter (164 wins). In the history of the KBO League, there is no player with more starting wins than Yang Hyun-jong. He continues to chase second place Jeong Min-cheol (2,394⅔) in all-time innings pitched (2,281 innings). His 1,913 strikeouts are second all-time, and he continues to chase first place, Song Jin-woo (2,048).
In fact, most wins, innings, and strikeouts are cumulative records that will one day be broken if he continues to play healthily. What Yang Hyun-jong is greedy for is the double-digit multiplier that current KT coach Lee Kang-cheol has for 10 consecutive years. Yang Hyun-jong has been there for 8 consecutive years until last year. He has 7 wins this year and needs to win 3 more this year to challenge his record. Although Yang Hyun-jong is not particularly greedy for records, he admitted about this record, “I think that is my (personal) goal for this season first.”
It’s all a calculation for the team. The fact that Yang Hyun-jong gets three or more wins in his remaining appearances means that KIA’s chances of advancing to the postseason increase. And it also means that he can reach the necessary rankings to welcome home fans in the postseason with a slightly more generous heart. From retreating one step, advancing two steps began.