Asian Games not the end of the season?
Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho said it was “important to get a medical opinion” on Moon Dong-ju’s innings limit, but in the end, the club stuck to its initial 120-inning limit. Moon will finish the season on March 3 against the Jamsil LG Electronics. (It was originally scheduled for the 2nd, but Ricardo Sanchez was called up first.)
Manager Choi Won-ho detailed Moon’s upcoming schedule during the Gwangju three-game series against KIA last weekend. After Moon’s final appearance of 114⅔ innings, he will be sent to the second team to rest for a while, and then he will get back in shape and pitch in the bullpen before being called up to the national team for the Hangzhou Asian Games, which is scheduled for the 22nd.
It’s a “perfect four-week plan,” from the time the team is called up to the time they play in the tournament in early October. Choi joked that he was managing like a pitcher heading straight to the Korean Series. Initially, he projected 120 innings+α, including the Asian Games.
But then a powerful variable came into play. The 2023 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) will be held at the Tokyo Dome in Japan from Nov. 16-19. Moon was recently included in the preliminary roster announced by the KBO. While we don’t know if he’ll make the final roster, it’s unlikely that he won’t be among the 24-year-olds or third-year prospects with the most talent and potential.
If Moon does make it to the APBC, he will need to rest and rebuild his body after the Asian Games in early October. This means he would have to go through the process of preparing for the Asian Games again after his last appearance on March 3.
In this case, the 120-inning limit would be virtually meaningless. Hanwha’s decision to limit Moon’s innings was based on his frequent injuries in his rookie season and the fact that he had never pitched a long season before. It’s a kind gesture to give him time to take care of his body after an early season.
However, by going to the APBC, I ended up finishing the season later than the pitchers in the Korean Series. If you end the regular season with three games, you’re going to lose the Rookie of the Year race. Moon Dong-ju, with an 8-8 record and a 3.62 ERA, is in first place in the Rookie of the Year race, but he’s not a lock to win. He will be chased by Yoon Young-chul (KIA) and others for the rest of the month.토토사이트
Moreover, the accumulation of innings in the APBC could render the 120-inning limit set by the club virtually meaningless. Right now, Moon Dong-ju only needs to pitch 5⅔ innings in his last start to reach 120 innings. That would put him over the 120-inning mark for the Asian Games. Even with that kind of risk, the APBC could be a burden.
Hanwha doesn’t have much control over the APBC roster. While Moon will finish the KBO regular season sooner than anyone else, he will likely finish the 2023 schedule later than anyone else. Hanwha may need to revisit its roadmap for managing Moon.