Plutko exit déjà vu…LG to challenge KS for the first time in 29 years

It’s Adam Plutko’s unwelcome departure déjà vu. The LG Twins’ quest for their first unified championship in 29 years has been dealt an early blow.

On Monday, LG removed left-handed setup man Ham Deok-ju from the first-team roster along with Adam Plutko, who suffered a pelvic contusion before a game against the Doosan Bears in Jamsil. Left-hander Kim Yun-sik and right-hander Lee Ji-gang were added to the roster as two of the biggest contributors to the starting and bullpen staffs this season were abruptly removed.

Ham Deok-ju was a precautionary move, as it was believed that fatigue had set in. The biggest problem is that the ace’s injury is more serious than expected.

Plutko was removed from the game against the Changwon NC Dinos on April 26 after throwing just 80 pitches in four innings, and a medical examination revealed a pelvic contusion that will keep him out for four to five weeks.

LG Twins manager Yoon Kyung-yeop said on the 29th, “Plutko said it will take about four weeks to recover. It’s a bruise, but I think it will take four weeks,” he said, adding, “I think it will take four to five weeks (to throw a ball).”

This season, Plutko has been a consistent ace for LG, going 11-3 with a 2.41 ERA in 21 games, tied for third in wins and third in ERA. However, he was scratched from the roster on July 9 after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and battling a cold, and missed about two weeks, leaving the team without him for an extended period of time during one of the most important standings battles of the season.

The timing is critical. For LG, Plutko’s late-season departure last year also had a devastating impact on their championship hopes.

Last year, Plutko went from a sub-3 ERA in April and May to a dominant ace of the league in June, going 6-1 with a 1.31 ERA in just 10 games in the second half of the season. Then, on September 25, 2022, Plutko made a start against the Incheon SSG Landers, facing just one batter and throwing zero pitches before being pulled due to a bout of bile. It would be Plutko’s last appearance of the regular season.

Plutko was subsequently placed on the PS without making an actual appearance in a practice game or rehabilitation game, and only pitched in the bullpen to check up on his condition. He was ultimately pulled after struggling mightily in the second game of the playoffs against the Kiwoom Heroes, allowing six runs (four earned) on eight hits with one walk and one strikeout in 1.1 innings.

After dominating the first round of the playoffs with a victory in Game 1, LG dropped Game 2, effectively handing Kiwoom the series and exiting fall baseball with an upset, taking the series 1-3. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Plutko’s grater was the most decisive moment in LG’s PS run last year.

More disturbingly for LG, Casey Kelly, the “Jamsil Jesus” of the LG mound before Plutko, hasn’t been the same. Most recently, he picked up his eighth win of the season with six innings of three-hit, one walk, five strikeout ball against Lotte, but it was his first no-hitter in 24 games. He still has a 4.39 ERA on the season. To put it bluntly, he’s not a lock to start Game 1 for KS based on his current performance.메이저놀이터

If Plutko needs at least four to five weeks to recover, it could be even longer before he’s back to full strength and pitches enough to start. In effect, he is out of the regular season.

LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop denied the possibility of a season-ending injury, saying, “I think he’ll be back by the end of the season,” but he couldn’t hide his disappointment. “Kim Yun-sik came in, and we got a report that he’s getting better. I gave him enough time to prepare, so I think he’ll do well,” he said.

The absence of the Asian Games and the departure of the team’s ace compounded the difficulties. “I can’t help it,” said Yeom. The regular season doesn’t work out the way you think it does in baseball. “We prepared Kim Yun-sik and others well, and we have alternatives, and the difference between having a gap and not having a gap will depend on how those players come in and play. We’ve prepared what we need to prepare, so we have to go with that,” he said, adding that the team will not hesitate to go for the top spot in the regular season.

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