At the LG Spring Camp in Scottsdale, Arizona, the U.S. on the 1st (Korea time), pitchers played catch after lunch, followed by a warm-up game. Each of them plays catch in pairs, and among the 23 pitchers, Jung Woo-young was the only one who was doing other exercises alone in the bullpen.
Jung Woo-young, who underwent elbow surgery in November last year, arrived in Scottsdale first as an advance team on Feb. 21. He devoted himself to rehabilitation under warm weather. On the day, he repeatedly threw a weighted ball (a ball heavier than a baseball, with different weights depending on the type) into the net at a distance of five to six meters with Kim Yong-il, chief training coach. It was a process to rehabilitate his elbow.
After training, Jung said, “I no longer have pain. It’s been a month since I threw a weighting ball. I don’t have any problem with my elbow. I can still throw flat, but I’m not overdoing it.”
“I am slowly improving my physical condition and changing my pitching form while being careful. Nothing has been set yet that I will start pitching by this time,” he said when asked when he will throw a bullpen session.
Changes in pitching form, Jung Woo-young paid attention to this area consistently last year. “As you all know, while practicing quick motion, which is my weakness, there is something I practice to change the rhythm of the lower body of my pitching form. It’s a detail, so the viewer may not know, but I feel like I’m changing the frame of my pitching every year from my point of view when I try something new,” he explained. First of all, you have to fully learn to speed up quick motion.
Jung Woo-young, who won the 2022 Hold King, showed poor performance last year. He participated in the World Baseball Classic as a member of the national team in March last year, and failed to show his best condition from the start of the season.
Jung Woo-young pitched in 60 games last year, recording five wins, six losses and an earned run average of 4.70. He had the highest ERA since his debut in 2019 (and the first time in the four-point range) and the lowest number of holds. Jung renewed his contract with an annual salary of 320 million won (318,400 U.S. dollars) this year. He was cut by 80 million won (820,700 dollars) from 400 million won (318,700 dollars) last year. This is the highest cut in his team. 마카오토토주소
He had ups and downs throughout last year’s season, and he hasn’t been in good shape consistently. “I was shaken overall because I made a lot of changes in the season,” Jung said of last year’s slump. “I was confused because I had a lot of orders.”
The power of pitching with key weapon was also not the same as before. Opponents have adjusted more and more. “If I give a point to my pitching cap last year, I will get zero point. Because my speed has decreased and the tip of my ball has become flat. There were many in-play balls and more fly balls. That’s how I lost more points,” Jung said in a cool-headed manner.
“I tried so many things in the extreme that it couldn’t be established. It was the same with the pitching form. Just like the saying that the brain controls the body, I thought it didn’t work out, so I tried different things, and if it didn’t work out, I kept trying different things and got confused. The result came out bad and I was careful about that,” he said, referring to the vicious cycle.
Jung Woo-young didn’t make an excuse, but he wasn’t feeling well either. Jung’s elbow has been in poor condition since fall 2022. “I threw in a bit of pain in my height and playoff. I felt uncomfortable. I couldn’t even hit the ball even if I wanted to,” he said.
After this year’s Korean Series, he decided to have surgery right away. He confirmed his victory in Game 5 on Nov. 13, and underwent a bone removal procedure on Nov. 15. Jung Woo-young said, “I cut off the bone in my elbow and removed the bone fragments.” It is a kind of ‘cleaning surgery’ that cleans the elbow. Rehabilitation does not take long.
“I had two choices: to throw with patience while continuing to receive injections without surgery, or to perform surgery neatly,” Jung said. “I wanted to throw in Game 5 of the Korean Series, but my elbow felt particularly heavy that day. I felt like my arm would ache if I threw in Game 5, so I was very disappointed that I could not take the mound.” At the end of the season, Jung decided to take surgery.
His elbow has been cleaned up by surgery, and his confidence is rising. Jung Woo-young was confident, saying, “I’m in the best shape of the year.” He is looking forward to regaining his “magogu” fighting spirit, which is always changing at the end of his cheeks.
Will he be able to build up his physical condition 100 percent in time for the opening game? “It is possible, but I am not trying to overdo it. If the coach tells me to match the opening game, I will, but I think I will be able to throw it in the first team in April,” Jung said.