Kim Tae-gun (33), who is set to make his first start after being traded to KIA, was sweating while training in defense. However, there was a player 꽁머니 who watched this closely. Who was he.
KIA players began training before the match between KIA Tigers and SSG Landers of the “2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League” held at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on the 6th. Kim Tae-gun, who wore a KIA uniform in a 1:1 trade with Ryu Ji-hyuk on the 5th, also trained as a catcher in front of the first base dugout with battery coach Kim Sang-hoon ahead of his first start.
Kim Tae-gun, who simply warmed up with a long toss, showed his skills by performing step-low, framing, and blocking. Battery coach Kim Sang-hoon and defensive coach Park Ki-nam finished the training with a satisfied smile after checking Kim Tae-gun’s condition. In particular, coach Park Ki-nam was surprised after receiving a strong throw from Kim Tae-gun.
However, there was a player who watched this until the end. He was SSG catcher Kim Min-sik (34). Kim Min-sik came to the dugout earlier than other players to watch KIA’s training and checked Kim Tae-gun’s condition. Kim Min-sik is a former KIA player and knows KIA better than anyone else. After watching the training between Kim Tae-gun and KIA, he expected KIA to be a typhoon that will change the mid-range game in the future. And that prediction has become a reality.
In the match, Kim Tae-gun showed good teamwork with Yang Hyun-jong and defended KIA’s home turf. And he also helped in the attack. Kim Tae-gun is not an offensive catcher, but he was different in KIA. He led the team to a 7-6 victory with two hits and two RBIs in four at-bats, including an RBI double in the final.
And Kim Tae-gun’s effect was clear in the match against KT on the 7th. KIA faced an unexpected crisis as starting pitcher Kim Gun-guk went down the mound with a headshot pitch in 0.2 innings. Bullpen pitchers looked nervous on the mound when they couldn’t even warm up. However, Kim Tae-gun was sitting in KIA’s home turf. He blocked the KT lineup with a seasoned lead. Thanks to this, Kim Jae-yeol blocked with two runs in four innings, and Yoon Joong-hyun, Lim Ki-young, and Choi Ji-min continued to throw and held out with two runs. It was a scene that showed the true value of defensive catcher Kim Tae-gun. He also recorded hits in the offense, recording RBIs in three consecutive games.
Meanwhile, KIA won three consecutive games as catcher Kim Tae-gun joined the team. It is also against SSG, which is fighting for the lead, and KT, which is the No. 1 player in June.
The effect of Kim Tae-gun, who was recruited at the risk of bleeding utility infielder Ryu Ji-hyuk, who was considered the next generation’s captain, was clear. The catcher’s batting order, which had been a resting batting order so far, has been filled, and it is now the scariest batting line in the league with LG. And in defense, stable framing makes KIA young pitchers throw the ball more comfortably. The KIA mound, which had always caused a crisis by issuing too many walks, has changed.
KIA is aiming for autumn baseball again with this momentum. With the addition of two new foreign pitchers and Kim Tae-gun, it became a typhoon that will change the game in the middle of the second half.