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LG’s Minor League Dream Team

Posted June. 08, 2004 22:14,   


Hong Hyun-woo, Kim Jae-hyun, Jin Pil-joong…

Some joke that the LG Twins now has the best roster ever in team history. Not the active roster, but the farm team roster. Including those players listed above, LG’s farm team members cost about five billion won totally. Five billion won is locked inside the LG’s Guri training field.

Hong Hyun-woo, a free agent after the 2000 season, signed a mega-contract (1.8 billion won for 4 years) but has not shown much over three years. He has been injured in his legs and has been moved on and off the active roster. He is recording a batting average of .200 (50 AB 10 H), 1 HR, and 8 RBI in 18 games in the major leagues, and is hitting .318 (22 AB 7 H) with 1 HR and 3 RBI in 7 games in the minor leagues. These are embarrassing numbers.

Kim Jae-hyun and Jin Pil-joong joined the LG minor league team last week. Kim was on everyone’s mind as speculation mounted whether he would or would not sign a contract before the season began. LG wanted to turn him away after he underwent surgery. However, for fear of the public, the team made a conditional contract with him with a note saying “the team is not responsible for the possible recurrence of the injury.” He had to sign for 180,000,000 won, with 30,000,000 won cut from his last year’s salary of 210,000,000 won.

However, his batting was too poor to be considered for the central lineup. Hitting.240 (154 AB 37 H) with 6 HR and 21 RBI, Kim was troubled with his poor batting these days and volunteered to go down to the minor leagues, saying, “I want to pick up the pieces and will come back with my batting sense.”

He made a clean hit as a pinch hitter in a minor league game with Samsung on June 6. Head coach Lee Gwang-hwan of the LG minor league team said, “because there is nothing abnormal in his body, he will get back onto the major league roster after 10 days.”

“Express Extinguisher” Jin Pil-joong, who signed a large 3 billion won contract after being acquired as a free agent from Kia, disgracefully recorded 3 losses, 12 saves and a 5.24 ERA. An ERA of 5 is a flunking mark for a closer.

Lee Soon-cheol, head coach of the LG major league team, ordered Jin down to the minor leagues as a starter. “Jin will be on the mound as a starter in the game with Doo-San in Icheon stadium on June 9,” minor league team head coach Lee Gwang-hwan said. “I will test him as a starter a couple of times.”

Jin was a pitcher who specialized as a closer for six years starting from 1998. Therefore, it is not certain whether he will be well adapted to his position change.

LG is frustrated because its major league players are on its minor league team. LG is barely keeping in 3rd place in the league, with a winning average slightly over .500 as of June 7 (26 wins, 2 ties, 26 losses).

As for the LG minor league team, LG is on top of the minor league standings. They can be neither happy nor sad because Kim and Jin have joined them.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com