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(LEAD) Former MVP-winning pitcher solid in 1st appearance since 2016

2018/05/15 16:10

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SEOUL, May 15 (Yonhap) -- Yoon Suk-min, a former MVP-winning pitcher for the Kia Tigers, looked solid on Tuesday in his first official appearance for his Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club in more than a year.

Yoon, the 2011 regular season MVP, started the Tigers' Futures League game against the KT Wiz affiliate in Hampyeong, some 380 kilometers south of Seoul. The Futures League is the KBO's minor circuit.

Yoon held his opponent to an earned run on two hits over 5 2/3 innings, while striking out six. He made 72 pitches, 52 of them for strikes.

Before the game, the Tigers' Futures League manager Park Heung-sik said he was hoping Yoon would throw around 80 pitches over five innings.

Hobbled by injuries, Yoon, 31, hadn't pitched in a KBO game since Oct. 11, 2016. It was in a wild-card game against the LG Twins, and Yoon threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

In this file photo from Oct. 11, 2016, Yoon Suk-min of the Kia Tigers throws a pitch against the LG Twins in a Korea Baseball Organization wild-card game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap) In this file photo from Oct. 11, 2016, Yoon Suk-min of the Kia Tigers throws a pitch against the LG Twins in a Korea Baseball Organization wild-card game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

He was limited to 16 games in 2016, 13 of them in the second half, with a shoulder injury, and missed the entire 2017 season with further shoulder issues.

The right-hander was voted the 2011 MVP after winning the pitching Triple Crown -- as the league leader in wins (17), ERA (2.45) and strikeouts (178). After the 2013 season, Yoon signed with the Baltimore Orioles but spent his entire one-year stint in Triple-A Norfolk before rejoining the Tigers for the 2015 season.

He served as the Tigers' closer in that first season back in the KBO and recorded 30 saves, along with a 2.96 ERA. But a shoulder injury early in 2016 derailed his career, and he was a forgotten man in 2017 as the Tigers roared to their first Korean Series championship in eight years.

Park, the Tigers' Futures League manager, said Yoon will make another appearance sometime next week.

"If he feels OK after that, we'll try to determine when he'll be back with the big club," Park added.

The Tigers could use any pitching reinforcement they can get. They are tied for fourth place in the 10-team league at 19-20 and have only the seventh-best ERA with 5.00.

They also have the second-fewest strikeouts with 277 in 342 innings.

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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