After 25 days on the mound, the Doosan Bears’ Won-jun Choi got the win. What the bullpen meant to him.
Won-jun Choi started and earned the win in a home game against KIA in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League on July 7 at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. It was especially meaningful because KIA had beaten him in April, scoring five runs on eight hits, including two home runs.
The long-awaited three wins of the season. It came exactly 60 days after their last win on July 9 against Kiwoom. “I’m more happy for the team’s victory than for my individual victory,” Choi said to reporters after the game.
Choi cooled down a Kia batting lineup that had been on fire of late. He threw 59 pitches in five innings, allowing four hits and no runs while striking out one. As he prepared for the sixth inning, he abruptly left the mound to pop a blister on the middle finger of his right hand.
He was in good shape, so it was a disappointment. However, Choi put the team first: “Regardless of the number of pitches I threw, the team had to win, so I didn’t feel bad about being replaced.”
In fact, this season hasn’t been all that satisfying for Choi. In his last three games, Choi lost two of them, and his ERA was 8.74 in 11⅓ innings. He was forced to move from the starting rotation to the bullpen.
“I was thinking too much about the outcome because my confidence was down,” Choi said, admitting to his poor performance, “If the team needs a better player, they should play him.” “I accepted it because I wasn’t good. I thought I had to get better and do well,” he said.
“In fact, in baseball, you always have to compete,” he said, adding that it was an opportunity for him to realize, “I have to play baseball in the future, so I shouldn’t fall behind.” “If I hadn’t pitched, another pitcher would have gotten the chance today,” Choi said, adding, “This is a place of competition.” “Whether it’s a starter or a middle reliever for the rest of the season, I want to make a big or small contribution to the team going into fall baseball,” he added.
Choi’s parents gave him a lot of advice when he was struggling.
“I was scheduled to start on Tuesday. I was very grateful that he told me that he was going to start the catcher because I was going to go out (as the starter), even though it must have been hard for my brother, who played on Monday.” “Actually, I’ve been struggling a lot this year, but I think I’m holding on because he said a lot of good things to me,” he said.
Choi Won-jun said, “Willie also told me that he’s had his ups and downs in baseball,” adding, “Willie said, ‘It’s not just you, so don’t think too much about it and keep it simple on the mound. I think I’m thinking too much,’ which helped me the most,” he said. Even when he was told by others that he had lost a lot of control, he said, “Ji-hyung instilled confidence in me by saying, ‘There’s no problem at all.안전놀이터
There was also an unexpected person who gave Choi advice. LG Twins right-hander Chan-kyu Im.
“I really want to say thank you to my brother,” Choi said, “He said a lot of good things to me in the three-game series against LG,” he said, without going into specifics.
Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop also praised Choi’s performance, saying, “He did his job in his first start in about a month.” Lee was pleased with the pitcher’s performance, saying, “He had a high percentage of first-pitch strikes, threw the ball confidently, and effectively shut down left-handed hitters.”