Kia Sanchez begins preparations to return to first team after ‘long toss’…”I hope to be back by the end of September”

KIA Tigers foreign pitcher Mario Sanchez has taken the first step toward returning to the first team mound after being sidelined with an injury.안전놀이터

Before the 11th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Saturday, KIA manager Kim Jong-kook said, “Sanchez started throwing a 30-meter long toss the day before. After throwing, I heard that there was no pain.” “I think he will continue with the long toss until this week, and if there is no pain, he will start half-pitching next week.”

Sanchez is 4-2 with a 5.28 ERA in eight games since joining the Kia organization as a late-season replacement foreign pitcher in the first half. He struggled in the second half of the season, but rebounded in his most recent start against the Hanwha Eagles on March 25 with seven innings of two-hit ball, one walk, six strikeouts and one earned run.

However, Sanchez complained about his body after the game against Hanwha. A medical examination on March 28 confirmed partial damage to the medial collateral ligament in his right elbow and impingement syndrome. He was not expected to require surgery, but was told he would need to undergo a three-week rehabilitation process with injections.

Sanchez recovered well in the first 10 days. In Sanchez’s absence, Kia has been on an eight-game winning streak, climbing to fifth place in the standings. As long as Sanchez is healthy, the team will be in a position to make a late-season push.

Coincidentally, KIA has 36 games remaining, the most of any of the 10 clubs. With a season record of 56 wins, 50 losses, two draws, and a winning percentage of 0.528, they are 0.5 games behind the fourth-place NC Dinos and two games behind the third-place SSG Landers.

Left-hander Lee “Yi” Lee, who recently shook off an injury, will be out for two weeks as part of the national team for the Hangzhou Asian Games in the middle of the month. Sanchez needs to return as soon as possible to minimize the gap in the starting rotation.

“If Sanchez is pain-free, I’m thinking of him (returning to the first team) by the end of the month,” said Kim Jong-kook, “We have so many games left. We might be at a disadvantage because our starting pitching resources are a bit scarce,” he said, adding, “We can be better if Sanchez returns as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, KIA will be looking to extend their winning streak to nine games with foreign pitcher Thomas Pannoni starting the game. Pannoni is 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA this season. In his most recent start, on March 31, he picked up the win against the NC Dinos, allowing three runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts in five innings of work with solid batting support.

The starting lineup was Park Chan-ho (shortstop), Kim Do-young (third base), Na Sung-beom (right field), Choi Hyung-woo (designated hitter), Socrates (left field), Kim Sun-bin (second base), Hwang Dae-in (first base), Kim Tae-gun (catcher), and Choi Won-jun (center field).

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