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All-Star closer undergoes successful elbow surgery

2018/05/16 17:25

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SEOUL, May 16 (Yonhap) -- NC Dinos' All-Star closer Lim Chang-min has undergone successful elbow surgery, his Korea Baseball Organization club announced Wednesday.

The Dinos said Lim had an operation on Monday to reconstruct his right elbow ligament and also removed a bone spur in his pitching arm at a hospital in Yokohama, Japan. Following some rehab work in Japan, Lim is scheduled to return home next Monday.

Lim will miss the rest of the 2018 season. His last appearance came on April 10 against the KT Wiz.

Lim recorded 86 saves from 2015 to 2017 and ranked among the top three in saves in each of those three seasons. But the 32-year-old struggled in 2018, with three saves and a 6.43 ERA in eight appearances before shutting down with the elbow problem.

In this file photo from Oct. 20, 2017, Lim Chang-min of the NC Dinos throws a pitch against the Doosan Bears during the top of the sixth inning in a Korea Baseball Organization playoff game at Masan Stadium in Changwon, 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap) In this file photo from Oct. 20, 2017, Lim Chang-min of the NC Dinos throws a pitch against the Doosan Bears during the top of the sixth inning in a Korea Baseball Organization playoff game at Masan Stadium in Changwon, 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

The entire Dinos' bullpen has had a trying season. They have the KBO's worst bullpen ERA with 5.73, and have blown eight saves, second most in the league.

And following a 5-3 loss to the Lotte Giants on Tuesday, the Dinos dropped to last place with a record of 17-26, the first time in their six-year history that they've been in the league cellar.

True to form, the Dinos blew a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning of Tuesday's game, and lost in the top of the 10th with a passed ball and a wild pitch.

The Dinos joined the KBO in 2013, and have made the postseason every year since 2014. And with shallow rotations in those years, the Dinos often stretched their bullpens thin to make deep runs into the playoffs.

And those stressful postseason innings may be taking their toll on usually reliable NC relievers this year. Right-hander Won Jong-hyun entered this season with a career ERA of 3.90, and he now sports an ugly 6.08 mark in 14 appearances this year. Kim Jin-sung, another workhorse who has thrown over 80 innings in each of the past two years, has a 9.00 ERA after 13 games.

Won had a minor league stint earlier in the season and Kim was demoted for the second time on May 4.

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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