‘I thought I’d be an ace… ‘ Smith’s shoulder injury, Hanwha is more bitter than the opening match loss

 Hanwha Eagles Birch Smith (33) was in danger of having a major setback in the season plan as he could not finish the game due to an injury and went down the mound. 

Smith started the season opener against Kiwoom Heroes of the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the 1st and recorded 2 runs in 2⅔ innings, 3 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts. 

Smith, who cruised without a run until the second inning, was hit by Lee Yong-gyu and Kim Hye-seong in a row in the third inning, and was driven to the crisis with one out and first and second base. Lee Jung-hoo caught it with a foul fly by the first baseman, but while dealing with Edison Russell, he suddenly requested a replacement with an advantageous ball count of 1 ball and 2 strikes. 스포츠토토

The Hanwha coaching staff immediately went up to the mound, and eventually Smith came down the mound himself. Lee Taeyang, who rushed to the mound in place of Smith, allowed Russell to score two RBIs and a double, and Hanwha eventually lost 2-3. 

Hanwha had to put in eight pitchers as Smith was suddenly replaced that day. Following Smith, Taeyang Lee (1⅓ innings scoreless) – Jung Woo-ram (1 inning scoreless) – Yoon San-heum (1 inning scoreless) – Kang Jae-min (1 inning scoreless) – Kim Beom-su (1 inning scoreless) – Joo Hyun-sang (1 inning scoreless) – Jang Si-hwan (⅔ 1 run in the inning) threw the ball. As the game progressed tight, all of Pil Seung-joo had no choice but to pitch, and closer Jang Si-hwan became a losing pitcher, recording 19 consecutive losses, the record for the most consecutive losses in the KBO League. 

Coach Subero rated Smith highly enough to give up the principle of using a domestic starting pitcher as the starting pitcher for the opening game over the past two years. In an interview before the game on this day, he said, “I want to give the position to the starting pitcher who showed the best in the spring camp,” and expected Smith to play an active role. However, as Smith was injured from the opening game, the season plan was greatly disrupted.

Hanwha said, “Smith felt shoulder pain and voluntarily gave up. He is scheduled for a close examination on Monday. It’s not where the injury has been in the past,” he explained of Smith’s injury. If Smith’s injury is prolonged, it is expected that it will be a bigger pain for Hanwha than losing in the opening game. /fpdlsl72556@osen.co.kr

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