Veteran left-hander Jang Won-sam has won a starting rotation job for the Samsung Lions on the strength of a strong preseason.
Kim Han-soo, manager of the Korea Baseball Organization club, said Thursday Jang will take the fifth spot in the rotation when the regular season starts later this month.
In this file photo taken on March 14, 2017, Jang Won-sam of the Samsung Lions (C) chats with teammates during a Korea Baseball Organization preseason game against the KT Wiz at Daegu Samsung Lions Park in Daegu. (Yonhap)
"He'll be our fifth starter," Kim told reporters at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, before the Lions were to play the Doosan Bears.
"His outing yesterday was the key."
Kim was referring to Jang's scoreless start against the Kia Tigers Wednesday, when he held the opponents to four hits in five innings.
The 33-year-old got into a bases-loaded jam in both the first and the second inning, but induced double plays on both occasions to get out of trouble.
Jang was perfect in the third and fourth innings, and worked around a one-out single in the fifth.
In two spring outings, Jang has given up two earned runs in eight innings. Manager Kim said Jang will not pitch the rest of the preseason.
Jang will be the only left-hander in the Lions' rotation. They will be fronted by two Americans, Anthony Ranaudo and Zach Petrick, followed by Yun Sung-hwan and sidearmer Woo Kyu-min.
Jang led the KBO with 17 wins in 2012, but has since been a shell of that dominant self. He reached double figures in victories in 2013, 2014 and 2015, but struggled to a 5-8 record and a career-worst 7.01 ERA in 26 appearances last year. He was also limited to just 78 1/3 innings, his lowest total since 2009.
Kim said lower back problems limited Jang's effectiveness last year, and he should have a better season in 2017.
"He's been trying to make up for the lost season," Kim noted.
"And I could see how desperate he is on the mound." (Yonhap)