It was just one month ago. On the 29th of last month, LG Twins coach Yeom Gyeong-yeop succeeded in reinforcing the starting 먹튀검증 mound by acquiring pitcher Choi Won-tae (26) in a trade with Kiwoom Heroes. Although there was bleeding that gave prospects Lee Joo-hyung (22) and Kim Dong-gyu (19) the right to pick in the first round of the 2024 rookie draft, they couldn’t miss the golden opportunity to rise to the top for the first time since their last championship in 1994. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Choi Won-tae was LG’s winning scorer.

At the time of the trade, coach Yeom said, “I’m bleeding. I really couldn’t sleep at night these days. I was wondering how to solve the selection, but he pierced it in one shot.”

He continued, “(Winning) pressure was present from the beginning of the season. The front desk helped me to do a little better. The goal is the same from the beginning until now, and I have received support. The burden cannot be avoided from the beginning of the season. The goals of the players are set. I think it is a trade that gives players strength. I think it was a trade where (Choi) Won-tae comes and knows what kind of strength we can have. Should we continue to hold on? He would have thought that there would be a limit. I think it is a trade that changes the players’ thoughts in a positive way.”

Choi Won-tae was confident in his appointment as a player that Yeom had been closely examining since he joined the Heroes. Manager Yeom said, “I and Won-tae know each other well. I think Won-tae will win much more in the second half than in the first half. We have many conditions for Won-tae to win, such as our team’s batting line and victory group. Catcher Park Dong-won has also been with us for a long time. It helps you adapt,” he said.

In addition, he showed great expectations, saying, “Wontae was born in 1997. I think he will be a player who will take center stage as a domestic starter for the next 7 to 8 years. He will be a pitcher who will be a great help to our team not only this year but also in the future.”

Won-tae Choi performed impressively in his LG debut right after his trade. On the 30th of last month, he started against the Jamsil Doosan Bears and pitched 6 scoreless innings and became the winning pitcher. He was such an active player that gave the feeling that LG’s win win rate worked perfectly.

However, after this game, there was no more quality start. In the four games he pitched in August, he went 1-2, pitched 21 innings, and had an earned run average of 9.00. On the 18th, I wanted to rebound by recording 4 runs in 7 innings against SSG Landers in Incheon, but on the 25th, against Changwon NC Dinos, I gave up 11 runs in 4 innings (9 earned runs), the worst pitch.

Fortunately for LG, as the match against Doosan in Jamsil on the 29th and 30th was canceled due to rain, it gained time to adjust the rotation. From the 31st, the starting rotation was confirmed this week in the order of Casey Kelly, Lim Chan-gyu, Lee Jung-yong, and Kim Yun-shik. Choi Won-tae was naturally pushed back to the next week. This is the result of Director Yeom’s consideration to forget the sluggish performance in August, take enough rest, and give strength to the mound again from September.

Director Yeom said, “Won-tae goes out on Tuesday (September 5). He thinks it would be better to give him a break, so he tries to give Won-tae as much rest as possible.”

LG is not currently in a situation where it can afford to relax. As of the 31st, it is leading with 65 wins, 41 losses and 2 draws, and although it is ahead of second place kt wiz by 4.5 games, it is difficult to guarantee the number one shooter if the starting lineup collapses. LG has already suffered a major internal injury as ace Adam Plutko, who was responsible for 11 victories this year, was diagnosed with a pelvic bruise that would take 4 to 5 weeks to recover. If even Choi Won-tae collapses, he has to endure the rest of the season with young pitchers from the 5th starting lineup, but it is difficult to focus on winning.

Will Choi Won-tae be able to return after a sufficient rest and put on the pitch he showed right after the transfer? Only when he overcomes this hurdle can he prove his value as a winning matchmaker, and furthermore, as the club hopes, he can grow into a domestic ace that can be responsible for the next 7-8 years.

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