For KIA, it is a series of shocks. In the match against LG in Gwangju on the 19th, center hitter Na Sung-bum was replaced by right hamstring pain during the tag-up process in the eighth inning, and the next day, it was revealed that he suffered hamstring muscle damage. He was out for the season due to a major injury that took 10 to 12 weeks to rehabilitate.
KIA manager Kim Jong-kook said, “There is nothing we can do about it. It should be done with the existing players. Lee Chang-jin, Ko Jong-wook, and Lee Woo-sung did really well in the absence of Na Sung-beom (until the beginning and middle of the season). I think the three players will share their roles and do well again this time,” he said, not giving up hope. 스포츠토토
However, less than a week later, even Choi Hyung-woo was ruled out for the season due to an unexpected injury. Lee Chang-jin, Ko Jong-wook, and Lee Woo-sung can fill the outfield seats without Na Sung-beom to some extent with the power of the general public, but Choi Hyung-woo’s designated hitter position is not seen as a suitable alternative.
In 121 games this season, Choi Hyung-woo had a batting average of .321 (130 hits in 431 at-bats) with 17 home runs, 81 RBIs, and OPS.887, which was beyond his 40 years of age. With the most RBIs in the team, he also had 14 winning hits, showing his ability to be a troubleshooter as he tied for first place in the league with Austin Dean (LG).
Young big guns such as Hwang Dae-in and Byun Woo-hyuk are on standby, but it is difficult to expect a decision like Choi Hyung-woo. There were also dark clouds over sixth-ranked KIA’s fifth-tier fight, where two central hitters, including Na Sung-beom and Choi Hyung-woo, were missing at once. The decline is clear with 1 win and 9 losses in the last 10 games, but there are 20 games left, the most in the league, so it is in a rush.