NC Dinos pitcher Koo Chang-mo’s return to the first team mound is far off.
NC manager Kang Myung-hyun talked about the pitcher’s current rehabilitation status before the Lotte Giants game at Sajik Stadium in Busan on April 2.안전놀이터
He couldn’t pinpoint a time frame for his return.
“After the checkup on the 21st of last month, we decided to have a re-checkup in three to four weeks,” Kang said. He is scheduled to return in mid-August. That’s not the end of the story. “I might have another checkup in a week (after mid-August, three to four weeks later),” Kang said, adding, “I think we’ll have to schedule training after seeing the results.”
Photo courtesy of NC Dinos
Koo was sidelined in early June with a micro-tear in his left forearm flexor. His condition has since worsened with a stress fracture and he has been sidelined for an extended period of time. In July 2021, Koo underwent plate fixation for a microfracture of the left ulna.
From the time of his initial injury, head coach Kang Myung-ho did not give a definite timeline for his return. He reportedly traveled to Yokohama, Japan, to undergo physiotherapy for blood circulation, but the timing of his return remains uncertain.
“He hasn’t been able to start technical training,” Kang said.
Koo went 9-0 with a 1.74 ERA in 15 games in 2020 and was touted as the next in a long line of South Korean left-handed pitchers. He helped the team win the regular season and Korean Series. After missing all of 2021 due to injury, Koo returned last year and went 11-5 with a 2.10 ERA in 19 games. He was included in the opening rotation this season but was shut down after nine appearances.
Photo courtesy of the NC Dinos
While he has proven himself on the mound, he needs to be healthy to stay there.
Both the national team and the NC are feeling the pinch. Koo Chang-mo was selected as a wild card to the baseball team for the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games. It’s not easy to make the team, given his rehabilitation and pitching schedule. The team is scheduled to hold a training camp on September 22, before announcing any replacements.
The same goes for NC, who has a multi-year contract. There’s a lot of work to be done, and the starting rotation isn’t looking good. Foreign player Taylor Widener has been pitching like a champ, and the homegrown starters Lee Jae-hak and Choi Sung-young are out with injuries. In the midst of a top-five battle, NC is anxiously awaiting the return of homegrown ace Koo Chang-mo.