I changed my teeth in Sangmu for “93 → 83 kg Loss”…”I’ll work hard so that I can become a member of the group who was born in 1999”

Doosan Bears right-hander Kim Min-kyu (24) has returned from his military service with the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Commerce). Upon his discharge on December 12, Kim joined the first-team squad and accompanied them on a road trip to Changwon, and was immediately added to the roster on the 13th. For Doosan, he was a regular in the starting rotation. His versatility as a reliever, long reliever, and substitute starter made Doosan manager Lee Seung-yup happy to have him join the team.

Kim was drafted by Doosan with the 30th overall pick in the second round of the 2018 Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) Rookie Draft after graduating from Humungo. He was drafted alongside Kwak Bin (24, 1st round) and Chung Chul-won (24, 2nd round), who are now the core of Doosan’s starting rotation and bullpen.

Kim Min-kyu has been given multiple opportunities in the first team since joining the organization. In 63 career appearances, he has three wins, one save, one hold, 113 innings pitched, and a 5.50 ERA. He has a strong “go-to” image, having worked as a reliever, long reliever, and starter. Before enlisting in the military, he had a lot of ups and downs, so he used to spend time in the second team to recuperate whenever he could.

He gritted his teeth as he watched his teammates Kwak Bin and Chung Chul-won rise to prominence in the majors. What has changed the most is his 토토사이트 appearance. He lost about 10 kilograms while living a regular military lifestyle. “When I entered the training center, I gained weight and tried to lose it, but when I exercised, it came off naturally. I weighed 88 to 90 kilograms before joining the army, gained up to 93 kilograms in training, and now weigh 83 to 84 kilograms. I feel light and fine,” he said with satisfaction.

He performed well in the commercial team. In 2022, he appeared in 20 games, going 10-1 with one win, one hold, 85⅔ innings pitched, and a 3.89 ERA. This year, he continued to earn his spot in the starting rotation with a 4-1 record, 33⅓ innings pitched, and a 3.51 ERA in eight games.

Reflecting on his two years in the majors, Kim said, “I think I’ve gained the habit of being regular, and I’ve gained the ability to go the distance even when I’m not feeling good mentally. I was able to think about baseball a little more. I tried to keep the same mold, but I was very two-pitch (fastball + slider) oriented, so I tried to throw a variety of pitches.”

Even though his body was at Sangmu, his heart was always with Doosan. “I watched almost all of the Doosan games (at Sangmu). Last year, I watched it like I was a Doosan fan for the first time in a long time, and this year, I was thinking, ‘I wish I could be there. When I saw (Kwak) Bin and (Chung) Chul-won throwing well, I realized that I wanted to join their ranks.”

“I was happy to see my brothers who were in the first team, like (Choi) Won-joon, (Lee) Young-ha, and (Park) Chi-guk, and I thought, ‘It’s time for me to get really good at baseball because I’m middle-aged (on the team). Now that I’m out of the military, I’m going to try to get a spot on the first team somehow. Now I really want to be a mainstay on the team. I’ll have to work hard,” he said encouragingly.

After his return, Kim Min-kyu played his comeback game on the 13th against the Changwon NC Dinos. He stepped on the first-team mound, the one he thought of every time he fell asleep at night in the mercantile industry. Kim threw the ball carefully, as if he were a rookie making his debut. He entered the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with a 9-0 lead and pitched one inning, 13 pitches, no hits and four walks. His fastball topped out at 144 mph, and he mixed in his main weapon, a slider, to keep the NC hitters at bay. Doosan won 11-4 and extended its winning streak to two games.

With his successful comeback, Kim Min-kyu will be looking to continue his current pace without any ups and downs. Kim will have to grit his teeth once again to realize his dream of becoming one of Doosan’s main pitchers alongside Kwak Bin and Chung Chul-won.

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