There are a lot of words to describe Yang Hyun-jong (35‧KIA), but one of them is responsible. He’s never been one to cheat. He believes that a starting pitcher must stay in the rotation, and he has tried to fulfill that belief in every way possible.
In the process, he built a career that will go down in KBO history. As of today, he has pitched 2,281 innings in the KBO. After pitching 171⅓ innings in 2014, he pitched at least 170 innings in eight consecutive seasons until last year. This is a feat only Yang has ever accomplished in the history of the KBO. He won 166 games while pitching so consistently, a milestone that would put him in the first class of the KBO Hall of Fame if it were ever to be established.
Yang is now in his mid-30s. He’s no longer the stone-cold pitcher he was in his 20s. The need for physical fitness is even greater. However, he has never said he would take a break first. After the Incheon SSG game on the 1st, he said, “I want to pitch a lot of innings. I need to be the one who doesn’t put pressure on the middle pitchers and the next starter as much as possible. However, the one break that came along seemed to change his outlook a bit, as he had been “stubborn” in this area.
From the start of the second half, Yang’s pitches went downhill. His velocity dropped, and his detailed tracking data was not as good as it was at the peak of his career, according to Kia manager Kim Jong-guk. The coaching staff suggested he take a break. There was still a long way to go before the end of the season. They suggested taking a break now and looking back.
Perhaps three or four years ago, Yang would not have accepted this. He would have found a way to stay in the rotation and get his game back on track. But this time, he was moved. “I didn’t think it was really helping the team to keep throwing,” he says. I wanted to rest a little bit,” he confessed, adding, “The manager and coach also told me, ‘You’re not going down because you can’t, but you look so tired. You need to rest a little bit,” he recalls of the unusual time.
The team was in a hurry and couldn’t give him a long break. The coaching staff also gave him 10 days to rest, but those 10 days, or at least the first three days, opened his eyes a bit. He didn’t have to think about throwing once and then pitching again five days later. It was an emotional break from his professional career. The first three days, I didn’t even go to the ballpark. I didn’t even put on spikes. I just stayed home and spent time with my family.
Then the world began to look a little different. He began to see things that he hadn’t been able to see before because he was so focused on the enemy in front of him on the fierce battlefield. “I spent a lot of time with my family without going to the baseball field,” says Yang. I think watching baseball on TV made me feel like I wanted to get back on the field as soon as possible,” he said. On the other hand, watching the young players training hard in the second team also brought back memories. He looked back to his beginnings. Yang uses the word “healing” to summarize the feeling. 온라인바카라
He renewed his resolve and motivation. He thanked his colleagues for doing their best during his absence and felt sorry for them. He had to be strong. Fortunately, the results were good after the break. On August 26 against Gwangju Hanwha, I pitched well with six innings and two runs. I got over the hump. Against SSG in Incheon on Aug. 1, I pitched seven innings of two-hit ball. It was probably one of his best performances of the season. It was the power of refreshment. Maybe even the stubborn Yang Hyun-jong felt it.
She will continue to be responsible, but she will also take a moment to remember that sometimes there is a way back. She has one more option on her navigation path to her goal. This could be a major turning point in your career. Now that he’s energized, it’s time to go all out for his team. Kia is riding high on an eight-game winning streak, but there are still plenty of ups and downs ahead. Yang Hyun-jong’s strength is essential.
On a personal level, he continues to chase legends. As the KBO’s all-time leader in wins (166), Yang has surpassed Song Jin-woo (164), who was the all-time leader in starts (163). No other player in KBO history has won more starts than Yang. He is also second all-time in innings pitched (2,281), trailing only Jung Min-chul (2,394⅔). His 1913 strikeouts rank second all-time, trailing only Song Jin-woo (2048).
In fact, wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts are all cumulative records that he will eventually break if he stays healthy. What Yang wants is to match current KT manager Lee Kang-cheol’s 10-year streak of double-digit wins. Yang had eight in a row until last year. He has seven wins this year, so he needs three more this year to challenge the record. “I think that’s my (personal) goal for this season first,” Yang admitted about the record.
It’s all a team calculation. If Yang gets at least three wins in his remaining starts, it means KIA will have a better chance of making the postseason. It would also mean that they could get closer to the position they need to be in to welcome home their postseason fans with a little more generosity. One step back, two steps forward.