“I’m not fully fit yet, we need a substitute on this side first.”

“I’m not fully fit yet, we need a substitute on this side first.”

There was a time when the number ’57’ on his back was a guaranteed check for victory.

But time is cruel. Will ‘Flying Coach’ Jung Woo-ram of the Hanwha Eagles ever stand on the first team mound again?

Born in 1985, he’s 39 years old. It’s not a bad age to retire. There are only a few players in the league older than Jung Woo-ram, including Oh Seung-hwan (Samsung Lions), Choo Shin-soo (SSG Landers), and Kim Kang-min (Hanwha). He is the same age as LG’s Kim Jin-sung and Samsung’s Lim Chang-min, and a year older than Lotte’s Jeon Jun-woo.

Jeong spent last winter taking “coaching lessons. In November of last year, Hanwha announced that Jung would be entering the new season as a playing coach so that he could focus on developing juniors while maintaining his player status. This year, he was added to the KBO League’s player roster as a playing coach.

With 1004 career games, Jung is the most-played player in a single league in the Asian Pro League. Although he’s not at his peak, he doesn’t want to retire. He reached an amicable agreement with the team. He has been given the opportunity to spend the end of his playing career and the beginning of his coaching career with Hanwha.

Hanwha has undergone a massive rebuilding process in recent years.

Ryu Hyun-jin is back, and Moon Dong-ju has established himself as a homegrown ace. Kim Min-woo, who was the No. 1 starter just a few years ago, is competing for the No. 5 spot, and many of the other players who were once part of the starting rotation have been relegated to the bullpen.

Jeong Woo-ram was once the guardian of Hanwha’s back door, but he hasn’t been able to hold down a spot. In 2022, he appeared in just 23 games. Last year, he appeared in 52 games again, 스포츠토토 but only 40⅓ innings, going 1-8 with a 5.36 ERA. He’s hardly a “priority” player.

Jung worked with the residual pitching coach last winter. He explained that he did this to “keep my nerves sharp as a player and to learn more as a coach.”

“I still want to see the fans on the first team mound,” he said, emphasizing his new start. When will he be on the first team mound this year?

Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho, who met with Jung at Sajik Stadium in Busan on the 17th, said, “(Jung) Woo-ram is still not feeling well.” Since he focused on coaching last year, he still has a few more steps to go to build his body.

He added a sobering analysis. “Even if there is a good player in the second team, the first thing is to see if there is a good player in the first team. If there is a good player in the second team, I will use him,” he explained.

“Jung Woo-ram will improve his body once the season starts. He has some fitness issues, so we decided to target him for the first team around the middle of the season. Once he’s fit, we’ll see what happens. It’s still a long way (to the first team mound).”

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