First-round pitcher→batter→4.6 billion FA compensation player…flower path opens after two surgeries
스포츠토토Pitcher-turned-batter-turned-FA compensation player. Doosan’s Park Jun-young, 26, is entering a blossoming period in his turbulent baseball career and is making a name for himself as a hitter with his new team.
Park joined the NC as a first-round pick in 2016. Initially, he was a pitcher. After making the opening day roster, Park went 1-3 with a 6.95 ERA in 32 appearances before being sidelined midway through the season with an elbow injury.
He eventually underwent elbow surgery and switched from pitching to hitting after returning from military service. After his elbow surgery, he was limited as a pitcher. Since he played both pitcher and infielder (shortstop) in his high school days, he tried again as a hitter.
Park returned to the first team in 2020 as a hitter, and in 2021, he batted 2-for-9 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs in 111 games. He was labeled as a “non-tradeable player” by the NC organization, which recognized his potential. In 2022, he batted 2-for-6 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in 75 games due to a nagging injury.
Park Jun-young in his NC days. / OSEN DB
Park went under the knife again in October 2022 with a dislocated shoulder. Last winter, NC signed free agent catcher Park Se-hyuk to a four-year, $4.6 billion deal, and his original team, Doosan, took Park, who was rehabbing from surgery, as a compensation player.
Park completed his rehabilitation in May and played in the Futures League. He steadily improved his practical skills in the Futures League and was called up to the first team after playing 28 games in the second team.
On July 7, Park made his debut for Doosan as a late-game substitute against Jamsil Kiwoom, hitting a double. On the 8th and 9th, he started at third base.
Courtesy of the Doosan Bears
Park went 3-for-3 with a home run, a walk, and three RBIs against Kiwoom on Aug. 9. After hitting a single, triple, and home run, Park’s cycling hit was thwarted by a dropped second base. In his final at-bat, he drew a walk.
With runners on first and second in the fourth inning, Park doubled down the left field line for a 2-0 lead. In the sixth, he hit a solo home run over the left field fence. His first home run of the season. As his teammates in the dugout purposely remained oblivious to his first home run, Park performed the “indifference ceremony” by himself.
“I don’t have any regrets about the cycling hit, and I’m proud to contribute to the team’s winning streak,” Park said after the game. Recently, Heo Kyung-min, the main third baseman, was rested due to a bad back. Park Jun-young said, “It’s too greedy to compete for a starting spot in my position. I’m only thinking about how I need to make sure that Kyung-min doesn’t feel his brother’s absence when he’s not feeling well.”
Changing teams as a free agent compensation player is motivating. “I think of it as a turning point in my baseball life,” Park said. It’s hard to keep a good feeling, but if I try, I think I’ll have a good record at the end of the season.” “My first goal is to stay in the first team without hurting the area where I had surgery, and I want to help the team play fall baseball and win a little bit,” he said.