The Samsung Lions faced an unexpected twist. Taylor Widener’s start was abruptly canceled, and left-hander Baek Jung-hyun was removed from the first team roster.
Samsung made a last-minute change to its starting pitcher from Taylor Widener to Hong Jeong-woo ahead of its upcoming game against KT Wiz in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on April 31. The reason was a severe cold.
Widener hasn’t lived up to expectations in his three starts since joining the Samsung Lions from the NC Dinos, going 1-2 with a 5.71 ERA in 17⅓ innings. In his most recent outing, on April 25 against the Daegu Kiwoom Heroes, he was tagged for seven runs on 11 hits (one home run) and two walks in 4⅔ innings with five strikeouts.
Widener felt unwell before the game on the 31st and notified the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) and opponent KT on the day of the game to change the starting pitcher. “He already had symptoms, but after sleeping for a day, they got worse, so we had to change the starting pitcher,” a Samsung team official explained. Hong Jeong-woo has a record of 21-2 with a 9.16 ERA in 18⅔ innings pitched in 21 games for the first team this season, and this will be his first start since the start of the season.
“It’s not easy to judge because there are always so many (variables) the day before or the day of,” Park said before the game, adding, “We have to see how Widener feels, but I think he’ll be fine (next week). It’s not like he got sick while pitching, so we’ll see how it goes over the next two or three days.”
The plan is not to keep Hong Jeong-woo for long considering he hasn’t had many first-team starts. Park Jin-man said, “We’re going to have to use up our bullpen today, so I think we’ll have to go with pitch counts rather than innings. I think we should prepare for around 30 pitches,” Park said.
In addition, Baek Jung-hyun was dropped from the first team roster ahead of the game. The new addition is catcher Kim Do-hwan. Baek Jung-hyun, who felt unwell while pitching in the bullpen the day before, will not be able to take the mound for the time being. Manager Park Jin-man sighed, “It’s the same area (elbow) that was bad in the first half, but he said it’s a little worse than then.”
As a result, the team has no choice but to make changes for the expanded roster that will be implemented on September 1. “We had a plan in place, but when the pitchers got sick, we had to drop one player from the outfield and try to make up for it,” Park said.
The good news for Samsung is that foreigner David Buchanan, who did not start against KT in midweek due to back pain, is back to full health. With rain forecast for the weekend across the country, there is a possibility of a rainout, but if the weather is excluded, Choi Chae-heung, Won Tae-in, and Buchanan will start the three-game series against NC in that order. If there are no problems after pitching out of the bullpen on September 1, he will go through the rotation normally.안전놀이터
Meanwhile, Samsung’s lineup against Wes Benjamin is Kim Hyun-joon (center field), Kim Sung-yoon (left field), Koo Ja-uk (right field), Kang Min-ho (catcher), Jose Pirela (designated hitter), Oh Jae-il (first base), Ryu Ji-hyuk (third base), Lee Jae-hyun (shortstop), and Kim Ji-chan (second base).