Bae Jae-hwan (NC), nicknamed “Bae Dong-yeol” for his resemblance to former national team coach Sun Dong-ryul, shook off a shoulder injury and took the mound for the first time this season.
A 2014 second-round pick of NC after graduating from Seoul High, he completed a career-high season in 2019. He appeared in 62 games (54⅓ innings) and earned 20 saves, a new single-season record.
He was expected to be a joker for a top-five contender after leaving the Commerce, but he had to rehabilitate shoulder pain following surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow last September.
Bae made his first appearance in the Futures League away game against KT at Iksan Stadium on July 27.
In the bottom of the eighth inning with a 4-1 lead, Bae was the fifth pitcher to face the leadoff hitter, Kim Byung-jun, who singled to right. He induced Jung Jun-young to fly out to shortstop for the first out. He gave up a single to Kang Min-seong to put runners on first and second. He got Kim Gun-hyung to fly out to left field and stranded the runner at second. Bae Jae-hwan gave way to Kim Tae-hyun in the ninth inning.
NC defeated KT 4-1. Lee Ju-hyung, the third pitcher after starters Jung Joo-young (3 innings, 3 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts) and Ha Jun-soo (1⅓ innings, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 run), earned the save with 1⅔ innings, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout. Park Han-geun went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, while Park Sung-jae led the offense with a 1-for-3 performance and two RBIs.
Bae Jae-hwan said on the club’s official Instagram account, “I’m happy to be able to pitch healthily after a long period of rehabilitation. I focused on strengthening my shoulder. I was very careful in the training part. I’m grateful.”
“In today’s game, I tried to be more aggressive with my pitches and throw strikes, so I’m happy to get through the inning,” he said. “Since the D team game, I’ve been working on my timing on the mound to get my pitches down and not put too much pressure on my shoulder.”
Finally, he said, “I don’t think it should hurt anymore. I will do my best to prepare myself better so that I can enjoy baseball more and make it to the N team 메이저놀이터.”