NC coach Kang In-kwon laughed, “I have to pray hard” while explaining the reexamination schedule of team ace and currently away from injury, Chang-mo Koo (26) ahead of the Incheon SSG match on the 9th. Of course, there was a joke mixed in, but it was not difficult to feel the heart of the anxious command tower.
The prayer may be with not only coach Kang In-kwon, but also Ryu Joong-il, coach of the Hangzhou Asian Games team. Gu Chang-mo is not only the ace of NC, but also the player who is expected to play an ace role in the Hangzhou national team. Looking at his pitching when he is healthy, that title is not inferior at all. In other words, the presence or absence of Gu Chang-mo could affect not only NC’s season operation but also the national team’s gold medal race.
Gu Chang-mo, who is recovering from a stress fracture in his left forearm muscle, will have a re-examination on the 11th. He is expected to reconfirm the condition of the injured part and determine the future schedule. Koo Chang-mo started against LG on June 2, but he detected an abnormality in his arm and voluntarily gave up the pitch while throwing only 5 balls. As a result of his first checkup, a diagnosis of micro damage to the forearm flexor muscle came out, and an additional stress fracture was later discovered, and he has not been able to throw a ball until now.
He was told at the end of June that he would need to be stable for 3 to 5 weeks. That time has passed. Now we need to see how normal his body tissues were during that period of rest. This is why a lot depended on his 11th reexamination.
If the re-examination on the 11th shows that he has recovered enough to start pitching slowly, he will digest the program for his comeback. In the extreme opposite scenario, if a diagnosis of ‘not yet’ comes out, the time to rest may be longer. It means that many crossroads await.
Director Kang In-kwon also does not yet know the exact time of Koo Chang-mo’s return. You should see the results of the re-examination on the 11th. Director Kang spared his words, saying, “There is a re-examination on the 11th, and I think I will have to set a schedule for the future after looking at the results of the examination.” Even if it is judged that it is okay to pitch normally, the gap so far is not short and it takes quite a bit of time to build up as a starter, so it becomes a story that he can return only at the end of the season.꽁머니지급
NC is evaluated to be doing well despite several bad news this season. Actual foreign pitcher Taylor Widener joined late due to injury, and Koo Chang-mo only played 9 games. Other pitchers, such as Lee Jae-hak and Choi Seong-yeong, were either out of the first team due to injuries or are still out. The crisis was quite big for the most important starting lineup in the long-term race. In fact, NC has already used 10 different starting pitchers this season.
So far, he has somehow managed to hold on to the postseason (4th place) and has a win rate of over 50% (.527), but temporary measures are only temporary. In the end, Tanner Tully and Koo Chang-mo and Lee Jae-hak, who will be newly joining the team, need normal support to endure until the end. The importance of Gu Chang-mo goes without saying, and there is no choice but to pay attention to the re-examination on the 11th, which can gauge the time of return.
As the Asian Games national team, the reexamination on the 11th is expected to be an important data for the ‘judgment’ of Gu Chang-mo. The KBO Power Reinforcement Committee has not yet revised the roster since the announcement of the final entry for the Asian Games. There are quite a few injured players such as Koo Chang-mo and Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom), but they will decide whether or not to select substitute players after watching the trend until the last minute. If a substitute is needed, there is also a plan to pick a player who is in the best condition until the end of the season.
However, the best scenario is for Gu Chang-mo to return as soon as possible and fully recover his condition before the Asian Games are called. Koo Chang-mo recorded an average ERA of 1.74 in 15 games in 2020 and an average ERA of 2.10 in 19 games in 2022. It is said that a healthy Koo Chang-mo is one of the best pitchers in the league. As he is a pitcher who was expected to be put into the most important game in the tournament, there is no substitute for him. The fateful hour may be coming for both sides.