Player in focus: Kim Jin-woo (Kia Tigers)

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Player in focus: Kim Jin-woo (Kia Tigers)

Last Wednesday was a sad day for Kia Tigers pitcher Kim Jin-woo; the 32-year-old right hander was forced to end his season after surgery was required on his right elbow.

The Tigers said that Kim has received Tommy John surgery to repair his right elbow ligament and has a year of rehab ahead of him.

Kim was originally regarded as the team’s fifth starting pitcher this season, but things didn’t go well from the beginning. The Gwangju native failed to pass a spring physical and was sent to the minors.

Kim, the league’s strikeout leader in 2002, returned on June 6 and got his first victory of the season against the Samsung Lions on June 13. It was his first KBO win in a year and a day.

He was relegated to the minors again on June 20, citing right elbow pain, and was undergoing rehabilitation.

The pain persisted and he opted for the surgery. The Tigers will see him only next summer, if he recovers successfully. He ends this season with one win and one no-decision with a 3.46 ERA in two games.

The Tigers signed Evan Meek after the All-Star break to strengthen their rotation, but with Kim out, they will probably be forced to add still one more to fill the fifth man’s spot and have another pitcher step up to fill in the team’s fifth starting pitcher.

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