“You have to look carefully at the signal.”

Kiwoom rookie Jeon Joon-pyo took the mound in the fourth inning in an exhibition game held at Doosan Bears Park in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province on the 9th.

He easily managed to get up to two outs, but suddenly he faltered as he gave up consecutive walks to Henry Ramos and Kim Jae-hwan. Kiwoom immediately took Jeon Joon-pyo off the mound.

The next day, Kiwoom manager Hong Won-ki recalled that he should have noticed the abnormal symptoms a little faster.

Coach Hong Won-ki said, “I heard that I got a feeling while trying to pick a mercenary hitter with two outs. I should have told him at the time, but he seemed nervous because there were many spectators at the exhibition game. We were a little late to catch him (about the symptoms).”

Manager Hong, who thought it was strange to see the rookie facing Kim Jae-hwan, ordered the check immediately. Sure enough, he had a gall. He quickly got off the mound to protect the player.

Coach Hong said, “There are times when I hesitate to express my expression to newcomers even though I keep emphasizing my expression,” adding, “It is important to raise it to suit my condition because I am checking it now.”

Rookie baseball players are new employees in the company. These days, MZ recruiters say everything they want to say, but pro baseball players are different.

After graduating from Seoul High School, Jeon was selected as eighth in the first round in the 2024 Rookie Draft. “My goal is to become a must-win group. I want to do my best to catch a chance when I give it a chance,” Jeon once said. He also said that his strength is getting the strike count quickly and aggressive competition. To make the opening entry, he has to reveal his existence, which is why he cannot dare to say that he is sick.

However, head coach Hong Won-ki believes that players should actively inform their conditions.

Kiwoom has already been informed of its injury even before the exhibition game. Lee Ju-hyung returned home early from Taiwan’s spring camp with a left thigh muscle injury and is receiving rehabilitation treatment. Jang Jae-young, who was expected to take the starting spot, is focusing on shaking off the pain with an elbow injury.

Coach Hong understands the minds of injured players. “Lee Joo-hyung will be the hardest one. His heart will stay at the ballpark right now,” he said. “The opening game is not important now, but it is more important to complete the game with a healthy body until the end of the season. The start is important, but the process and the finish are more important, so I hope he comes with a perfect body.”

Regarding Jang Jae-young, he said, “Injuries come unexpectedly, so they will be hard and heartbroken,” adding, “I’m more concerned because they prepared a lot for this season’s leap forward than anyone else. This is also a big study because it’s a certain experience for me to play as a player.”

Not only Hong but also the coaching staff will now take a closer look at the players. “We will take the signs of minor injuries seriously now and take more care of the players on the spot or tell the players about their awareness of the injury,” he said.

“Players with experience stop when they get a feeling, but players like Jeon Jun-pyo are too motivated now. Because of those things, I think I have no choice but to observe more carefully on the spot and brake a little more first (when I want to do it),” he said.

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