The ball is rolling again, and Game 1 of the semifinals is right around the corner. Will Kirk McCarty make the roster?
The SSG Landers will take on the NC Dinos in the first game of their semi-final series at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on April 22. After clinching third place in dramatic fashion on the final day of the regular season on April 17, SSG was able to take a breather. The team had one full day of rest on the 18th and began team training at Landers Field on the 19th.
Coach Kim Won-hyung’s plans for the roster were more or less over. Core hitter Choi Jeong-jeong, who was sidelined at the end of the season with a hamstring injury, made the roster without any problems. “I had some pain in my left hamstring, but it’s much better now. After taking batting practice on the 17th, Choi took fielding practice on the 19th. He is expected to start from Game 1, barring any changes. With Choi’s addition, SSG’s batting lineup will be able to run at its “best” without any injury setbacks.
However, the mound remains the biggest variable. That’s McCarty, another injured player. McCarty is a starter who went 9-5 with a 3.39 ERA in 24 regular season games. Despite the injuries, and the fact that his final performance had nothing to do with the individual title, he was still the most consistent pitcher in SSG’s starting rotation this season. However, injury struck again at the end. On September 23, while pitching against the Lotte Giants, he suffered a sore inner oblique muscle and finished the regular season. 안전놀이터
The pain lasted longer than expected. The initial diagnosis was an adductor strain that would keep him out for at least two weeks. McCarty continued to experience discomfort whenever the area was irritated, such as coughing or lifting his arm. Fortunately, as his condition improved, he began to catch the ball again.
But even his postseason status was unclear. As McCarty’s injury status was constantly checked, team officials were concerned that “he’d have to be really fast to make the semifinals, and if not that, the playoffs.”
The normally upbeat McCarty became somewhat depressed when his injury prevented him from playing his part in the late-season standings battle. There was pressure on him to get back on track quickly.
Coach Kim Won-hyung had a lot to think about when it came to McCarty’s inclusion in the semi-playoff roster. “He wants to play no matter what. He has the will to play. But it won’t be easy,” Kim said.
The problem is pitch count. It’s possible that McCarty could make the semi-playoff roster after pitching out of the bullpen for now. But at least for this series, he should be limited to the bullpen. He hasn’t been able to increase his pitch count. “If it was a regular bullpen pitcher, it wouldn’t matter, but McCarty is a starter, and even if he pitches in the bullpen in this situation, it’s not easy to put him on the mound when it matters,” said Kim Won-hyung.
For now, we’re going to wait until the 21st to see what happens with McCarty. At this point, it’s unlikely he’ll make the roster. Instead, we can look forward to what comes next. If McCarty doesn’t make the semi-playoff roster, SSG will try to get him into a game, such as a second-team scrimmage. The idea is to get a feel for the game and adjust his pitch count. “Right now, I think it would be better for him to make a couple of practice appearances and come back as a starter in the playoffs rather than returning to the semi-playoffs quickly,” said Kim Won-hyung. We’ll wait and see,” he said.