The second-largest ‘Great Pitcher’ in KBO history said, “I’ll learn from (Ryu) Hyun-jin.” Why? “I’m grateful that the mention of ‘Ryu Kim Yang’ itself.”

As Korean Monster’ Ryu Hyun-jin (37) returns to his former Hanwha Eagles in 12 years, a head-to-head match between Ryu Kim Yang (Ryu Hyun-jin, Kim Kwang-hyun, and Yang Hyun-jong) will take place once again. What kind of mindset does Yang Hyeon-jong (36, Kia Tigers), who is making history in KBO history, have.유흥알바

Yang Hyun-jong mentioned the confrontation between the three left-handed aces following Ryu Hyun-jin’s return to Korea at a meeting with reporters after the Lotte Giants’ 2024 KBO League spring camp practice game at Kushikawa Baseball Stadium in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan on the 3rd.

Ryu returned to the Korean stage on April 22 through the biggest contract in the KBO’s history of eight years and 17 billion won. It was his first time in 12 years since he entered the Major League after the 2012 season. Immediately after the announcement of the contract, he joined Hanwha’s Okinawa camp, where he pitched two bullpen sessions and completed the 65th round of live pitching on the 2nd with a batter standing up. Ryu broke a batter’s bat twice with a maximum ball of 139 kilometers, drawing keen attention from the public.

As Ryu returns to the Korean league, the showdown between Ryu and Kim is also drawing keen attention. Kim Kwang-hyun was Ryu’s best rival during his time in Korea, and Yang Hyun-jong also adapted to the league by performing as well as the two players. The three players, who are similar in age, maintained close relationships. In an interview in early 2015, Ryu said, “Yang Hyun-jong and Kim Kwang-hyun will have the chance to advance to the Major League in two years,” and in fact, they have advanced to the Big League only one year apart (Kim Kwang-hyun 2020, Yang Hyun-jong 2021).

Kim Kwang-hyun and Yang Hyun-jong are U-turners in the Major League like Ryu Hyun-jin. Although they advanced to the Major League belatedly and returned quickly, they can serve as barometers for Ryu’s performance this season. The two players returned to Korea from the U.S. side by side in 2022. After returning to KIA with a four-year FA contract of 10.3 billion won, Yang recorded 12 wins and seven losses with a 3.85 ERA in 2022, and 9 wins and 11 losses with a 3.58 ERA last year. After ending his two-year career in the big league, Kim led his team to the overall championship with 13 wins and three losses and a 2.13 ERA in the 2022 season, and he finished with nine wins and eight losses and a 3.53 ERA last season.

Yang Hyun-jong said of Ryu Hyun-jin’s return to Korea, “It’s so nice to see Hyun-jin come. It’s nice to see his brother-sister relationship, and it’s a burden to see him as a player.” At the same time, he welcomed, “If Hyun-jin hyung comes and experienced players perform well, I think many fans will come to the baseball stadium and baseball revival will take place.”

“Personally, I feel a lot of pressure. On the other hand, if we have a showdown, I think I will learn a lot,” he said. “I think I will learn from the game by watching and thinking, ‘This is why Ryu Hyun-jin is here.'”

Yang Hyun-jong is also a renowned player in KBO league history. Having joined Kia in 2007, Yang pitched 2,332 ⅓ innings in 484 games until the last season, posting 168 wins, 113 losses, and 1947 strikeouts with an ERA of 3.81. He has made remarkable achievements just by looking at his cumulative performances, including multiple wins, second place in strikeouts, and third place in innings. He won the MVP and Golden Glove of the league in 2017, and has also won the Choi Dong-won Award, which was given to the best pitcher in the league, twice (2014 and 2017). He also wants to learn from Ryu such a “great pitcher.”

Yang also modestly responded to Ryu Kim-yang’s combination, saying, “I am grateful and thankful just to hear such words from the media.” “Ryu Hyun-jin and Kim Kwang-hyun are on a similar level. They achieved good results in the U.S. and also secured important matches in international competitions. When comparing their performances in international competitions and overseas games, they significantly drop,” Yang said. “They can give out their business cards within the KBO, but they were at different levels overseas.”

Yang made his first appearance at the spring camp on the day. Coming out as a starting pitcher, Yang struck out six Lotte batters with just 16 pitches during two innings, combining two strikeouts and cooking perfectly. The maximum speed reached 143 kilometers. He displayed good performance at the final check-up ahead of the exhibition game, giving hope to the team.

“It is unfamiliar to take the mound for the first time in a while even though there are some consecutive seasons,” Yang said. “I tried to adapt myself to the situation.” He is also preparing for the Automatic Ball Judgment System (ABS), which will be newly introduced from this season. “I carefully threw the ball in consideration of the curve. I will continue to throw more balls in practice and exhibition games as I need to increase my ratios in the future,” Yang said.

Last year, Yang lost his rhythm as he worked out differently from usual due to preparations for the World Baseball Classic. “I’m okay because I prepared for the opening this year calmly. I’m doing well in Australia, and I’m continuously going smoothly as planned,” Yang said positively.

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