Kia Tigers left-hander Yang Hyun-jong (36) overcame sudden elbow numbness to pick up the win.

Yang Hyun-jong started the game against the LG Twins of the 2024 KBO Baseball World Series at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field on April 18 and lasted until the fifth inning. He allowed three runs (three earned) on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts in five innings. He earned his sixth win of the season in an 11-4 victory. The team rattled off four straight wins to take the lead.

Against a tricky lineup, the veterans showed their experience. In the first inning, with runners on first and second, Kim Bum-seok hit a double to center field. In the second inning, he gave up a single to Park Dong-won, but got Koo Bon-hyeok to ground out to second. In the bottom of the third, he gave up a walk and a hit before giving up a two-run double to Kim Bum-seok. In the fourth inning, he gave up a double to Park Dong-won.

He only threw 73 pitches and didn’t take the mound until the sixth inning. The reason was elbow discomfort. In the top of the fifth inning, after inducing Kim Bum-seok to ground out to third base, he suddenly hesitated and gestured as if his left arm was uncomfortable. He rotated his wrist and grimaced in pain. Pitching coach Jung Jae-hoon and the medical trainer rushed over, and after a few test pitches, he resumed pitching.

He induced LG’s No. 4 hitter, Austin, to fly out to shortstop, but he couldn’t get the ball to spray hard enough. The pitchers waiting in the bullpen were ready to go, throwing strikes right away. Yang finished the fifth inning and didn’t take the mound in the sixth. “He had some tingling in his elbow. We took him out for protection.”

On May 25 against the Doosan Bears in Gwangju, Yang Hyun-jong felt a tingling sensation in his left pelvic area shortly after facing the first batter of the sixth inning. He returned to the mound and pitched until the seventh inning, leading the 사설토토 team to a 6-2 victory. He pitched well in the next three games, but the symptoms returned today. Yang is scheduled to undergo a medical examination on Sept. 19.

Yang Hyun-jong settled in from the start and led the way on the mound with James Nail as a one-two punch. He became the innings-eater with nine quality starts. He became the second pitcher after Song Jin-woo to surpass 2400 innings pitched and the second to reach 2000 strikeouts. With the win, he now has 174 career wins. With his five innings today, he now has 91⅔ innings pitched.

Yang said, “I’ve never felt as out of shape or off-balance as I did today since I started playing baseball. I felt like it was going to be a tough game because I wasn’t focused and it wasn’t going to be easy. I was lucky to get a lot of good pitches in front of me. The batters scored enough runs to win,” he said, thanking his teammates.

As for the elbow discomfort, he said, “I panicked a lot when I suddenly grabbed Kim Bum-seok. It wasn’t numb, but it felt a little tight. I’ll have to check it tomorrow, but I stretched it out and it came back (to normal). I wouldn’t worry too much. It’s temporary. I think he’ll be able to pitch Sunday.”

He also explained why he pitched five innings with one batter on base. “I don’t think anyone wanted to come down. We had the lead, we weren’t hitting too badly, and I thought I’d take care of the fifth inning. It’s my first game on Tuesday and I only pitched five innings and got sick and went down. I’m thankful for the middle relievers. I’m going to pitch as many innings as I can,” he said. He will face off against senior Ryu Hyun-jin on April 23 against Gwangju Hanwha.

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