KIA, which has a long way to go to advance to the postseason, faced the biggest negative news at the end of the season. Na Seong-beom (34), the team’s key hitter and the league’s top hitter, is essentially out for the season.
Ahead of the match against Kiwoom scheduled to be held at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field on the 20th, KIA officially announced, “As a result of Na Seong-beom’s examination at two institutions designated by the club, he has suffered damage to his right hamstring and rehabilitation will take 10 to 12 weeks.”
Na Seong-beom was suddenly replaced during the 8th inning against LG in Gwangju on the 19th. In the 8th inning, KIA, which was trailing 1-4, took the opportunity to chase down 2nd and 3rd base with no outs thanks to leadoff Wonjun Choi’s hit to left and Doyoung Kim’s double to right-center. This is where Na Seong-beom’s instinct as a solver shined. Na Seong-beom hit a timely hit to right-center, allowing both runners to hit home.메이저놀이터
With no outs on first base and trailing 3-4, Na Seong-beom entered second base when Choi Hyeong-woo hit a wild pitch during his at-bat, and after one out, Kim Seon-bin’s fly ball to right field stopped him and slid to third base. However, something did not feel right after this sliding, and after consulting with the trainer, he was replaced by pinch runner Lee Woo-sung and finished the game. KIA coach Kim Jong-guk was also at a loss for words. Coach Kim said ahead of the Gwangju Kiwoom game on the 20th, “He has been doing very well since his return, but he suffered a serious injury. First of all, I believe that players like Lee Woo-seong, Ko Jong-wook, and Lee Chang-jin, who have played for us in the past, will fill the gap as much as possible.” He continued, “I’m thinking this season will be difficult.
Na Seong-beom underwent medical examinations at two medical institutions designated by the club (Seonhan Hospital and Sejong Sports Orthopedics) at 9 a.m. on the 20th, but both diagnosed him with a hamstring injury. His rehabilitation alone will take 10 to 12 weeks. In other words, it has become difficult to come back within this season. This is because there are only about 4 weeks left in the regular season.
Na Seong-beom is crying because of injuries this year. Na Seong-beom, who was selected for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team before the season began, developed a problem with his calf muscles before the season. He initially didn’t think it was that big of a problem, but it turned out that his calf muscles were seriously damaged, so the store was closed from the opening. Na Seong-beom’s first appearance of the season took place on June 23, long after the start of the season.
After returning, his performance was incredible. He appeared in 58 games through the 19th and had a batting average of 0.365, 18 home runs, 57 RBI, and OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 1.098. Although he was far from regular at-bats, his offensive production was second to none in the league, and he was also ranked first in OPS in the second half of the season.
However, this time, his hamstring was causing trouble and he came off again. So far, he has played in all 144 games only 5 times, and last year, his first season after moving to KIA, he appeared in all 144 games. So there was an image of a steel king. It is an embarrassing ordeal for Na Seong-beom. It is shaping up to be his worst season since 2019, when he played only 23 games due to a ruptured knee cruciate ligament.
KIA, currently ranked 6th, one game behind SSG in 5th place, is in trouble. This is because there is no player who can replace Na Seong-beom’s presence. In the first half of the season, Lee Woo-seong, Lee Chang-jin, and Ko Jong-wook played well and filled the gap to some extent, but there is a big difference with or without Na Seong-beom. It is true that it is frustrating to think about KIA’s batting lineup without Na Seong-beom in the second half of the season. Coach Kim also said about future measures, “First of all, since there are three people preparing, Kim Ho-ryeong is planning to join the entry team starting from Friday’s game. If the national team players are missing, I think 1-2 entry positions will have to be changed. The central batting lineup will be newly arranged. “I think I have to do it, and I’m thinking that my overall slugging power may drop a little,” he said.
First of all, there is a high possibility that Lee Woo-sung or Lee Chang-jin will fill the outfield spot. Lee Woo-sung’s shoulders became heavy. Lee Woo-sung is the resource that filled Na Seong-beom’s gap in the first half of the season. He has a batting average of 0.296, 7 home runs, 40 RBI, and an OPS of 0.788 in 102 games on the season. Lee Chang-jin also performed well. He has a batting average of .280, 2 home runs, 24 RBI, and an OPS of 0.762 in 81 games on the season. The participation rate of Ko Jong-wook, who mainly plays as a pinch hitter, is expected to increase.
He continued, “If he had started from the beginning, he would have been at MVP pace, but it’s a pity. He played very well and showed a lot of good performances to our team players in the second half,” and added, “I think the existing players will fill that spot, and I will prepare like that.”
Other players have no choice but to take Na Seong-beom’s vacancy, but Park Chan-ho is still unable to hit normally due to a finger ligament injury. Choi Won-jun also needs to go to the Hangzhou Asian Games. Two outfield seats were empty. How KIA will overcome this critical juncture with 24 games left is expected to be the biggest topic in the final days of the KBO League.