LG Twins have a surprise rookie sidearm pitcher

For the second year in a row, the LG Twins have a surprise rookie sidearm pitcher. Last year, Park Myung-geun earned a spot on the opening roster and performed well for a year, and this year, rookie Jeong Ji-heon, 20, is looking to follow in his footsteps.

Jung took the mound for the final game of the exhibition series against the Kiwoom Heroes at Jamsil Stadium on the 19th. Taking the mound in the eighth inning, Jung threw a one-hit shutout.

He threw a 144-kilometer fastball to the first batter, Ye Ji-won, who flied out to center field. Three consecutive batters reached base with no outs.

Park got Soo-jong Park to fly out to right field. Kim then induced two consecutive wild swings with a 140-kilometer pitch on a two-ball-1 strikeout. Joo Sung-won followed with a changeup and fouled off the third baseman.

In four exhibition games, he went 1-1 with one save, allowing one run on one hit, two walks and two strikeouts in 3.2 innings pitched with an ERA of 0.00. The hit against Kiwoom was his first career hit.

Jeong Ji-heon joined the LG in the early draft.

After graduating from Yushin High School, he attended Korea University and declared for the early draft after his sophomore year. He was selected by LG in the sixth round (58th overall) of the 2024 Rookie Draft.

He did not attend the first team camp in the U.S. and prepared for the season at the second team camp at LG Champions Park in Icheon. 스포츠토토 After being promoted from the second team to the first team ahead of the exhibition games, Jeong made his first appearance in an exhibition game against the Samsung Lions on Nov. 11. Jeong pitched one scoreless inning with one hit and no walks, and ended the exhibition with four consecutive scoreless games until the 19th against Kiwoom.

He averages 144-145 mph on his fastball, changeup, and slider, with a good changeup in the 120 mph range. He has a good changeup and is not particularly weak against lefties.

Jeong caught the eye of manager Yoon Kyung-yup. Yoon used Jeong in a special game against the San Diego Padres in the MLB World Tour Seoul Series at the Gocheok SkyDome on April 18th. He used the 20-year-old rookie pitcher in the middle of the bullpen. Jung took the mound in the seventh inning, trailing 2-4.

He walked leadoff hitter Jackson Merrill. Xander Bogaerts was pinch-hitting for Graham Pauli. He singled to right to put runners on first and third with no outs. Fernando Tatis, Jr. Tatis threw a three-pitch changeup on two pitches, but a single to center field allowed a run to score.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Yeom pulled Jeong and brought in Seung-hyun Paik to pitch in relief.

Baek got Jake Cronenworth to fly out to third base and Manny Machado to fly out to right field for the second out. With runners on first and third and Kim Ha-seong at the plate, Jeong was thrown out trying to steal second base.

Jung allowed one run on two hits and one walk against three batters. He threw 11 pitches, four for strikes. Six fastballs and five changeups. His fastball touched 145 mph against Tatis Jr. Although he didn’t get any outs, it was a valuable experience against a big leaguer.

“It’s experience, and in my mind, he’s a player I want to develop, so I let him gain experience,” Yoon said of Jeong’s start against San Diego before the 19th at Jamsil Stadium.

“I could have left him on the mound longer (after giving up a run), but I thought it would hurt him more than the experience, so I took him out quickly. Seung-hyun did a good job behind him, so Ji Heon-i only gave up one run. If you leave him in there and give up three or four runs, you loosen up the game, and it hurts the player. Chances and experience are good, but it’s better to get them out quickly while they’re less damaged.”

Yeom plans to give Jeong a chance in the chase group. “The last spot on the 14-man pitching roster is for players like Jeong, who we need to develop for the future. The 14th roster spot will be used to give young pitchers a chance to play in the rotation.”

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