SUN doppelganger pitcher makes first start of season after injury: “I don’t think I should be sick anymore”
Bae Jae-hwan (NC), dubbed “Bae Dong-yeol” because of his striking resemblance to former national team manager Sun Dong-ryul, shook off a shoulder injury and took the mound for the first time this season.
A second-round pick of NC in 2014 after graduating from Seoul High, he completed a career-high season in 2019. He appeared in 62 games (54⅓ innings) and picked up 20 saves, setting a new single-season record.안전놀이터
He was expected to be a joker for a top-five contender after leaving the business world, but he had to rehabilitate shoulder pain following surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow in September last year.
Bae made his first appearance in the Futures League away game against KT at Iksan Stadium on 27 April.
In the eighth inning with a 4-1 lead, Bae was the fifth pitcher to face the leadoff hitter, Kim Byung-joon, who singled to right. He induced Jung Jun-young to fly out to shortstop for the first out. He gave up a single to Kang Min-seong to put runners on first and second. He got Kim Gun-hyung to fly out to left field and stranded the runner at second. Bae Jae-hwan gave way to Kim Tae-hyun in the ninth.
NC defeated KT 4-1. Lee Ju-hyung, the third pitcher after starters Jung Joo-young (3 innings, 3 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts) and Ha Jun-soo (1⅓ innings, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 run), earned the save with 1 ⅔ innings of scoreless relief. Park Han-geol went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, while Park Sung-jae went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs to lead the offence.
Bae Jae-hwan said on the club’s official Instagram account, “I’m happy to be able to pitch healthily after a long period of rehabilitation. I focused on strengthening my shoulder. I was very careful in the training part. I’m grateful.”
“In today’s game, I was trying to be more aggressive with my pitches and throw strikes, so I’m happy to get through the inning,” he said. “Since the D team game, I’ve been working on my timing on the mound to get my pitches down and not put too much pressure on my shoulder.”
Finally, he said, “I don’t think it should hurt anymore. I will do my best to prepare myself better so that I can enjoy baseball more and make it to the N team.”