SSG, wingless since August, loses another landing gear needed for emergency landings. Foreign ace Kirk McCarty, 28, is out for the season. Given the team’s current situation, it’s unclear if McCarty will ever get a chance to throw a ball for SSG.
“After a medical examination this morning, McCarty was diagnosed with a right adductor muscle injury,” an SSG team official said on Friday, adding, “He will need to be stabilized for two weeks and then we will schedule a rehabilitation schedule.”
The team did not provide a specific rehabilitation plan, but the two-week rest period means he won’t be able to pitch until at least Oct. 8. The team will then evaluate the condition of his obliques, and if he’s deemed healthy, he’ll gradually build his velocity back up from there. Since he’s a starter, McCarty will need at least one more practice start before he can return to his normal role, which will be at the end of the regular season.
McCarty started against Lotte at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on April 23. He pitched a scoreless first inning, throwing a fastball up to 149 kilometers per hour, before feeling pain in his right oblique muscle while fielding in the second inning. He tried to reduce the pain by taping it after the second inning, but the pain didn’t go away and he had to abandon the game. SSG couldn’t smile as Oh Won-seok, who started the game without being able to warm up properly, pitched well in the third inning to secure the precious win.
McCarty decided to take a day off and reassess his condition, but the pain didn’t go away on the 24th, raising concerns. His chances of returning to the mound were virtually gone at this point. McCarty visited a doctor on the 25th due to the weekend, and the diagnosis was confirmed: a torn oblique muscle.
SSG, which has been showing clear signs of decline since August, is 4-14-1 (.222) in September and is dead last in the league in winning percentage. Last year’s overall winner and the biggest spender in the league this season, SSG managed to hold on to second place through the middle of the season, but since August, they’ve lost everything they’ve gained and are in crisis.
It’s a total disaster in every aspect: starting, bullpen, hitting, defense, substitutions, and bench strategy. In 19 games since September, SSG has a 6.04 ERA. That’s dead last in the league. SSG is the only team with a sub-6 ERA in that span. Their team OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) in September is 0.680, which ranks ninth in the league. The bench has been swept along with the offense.
Injuries. Before McCarty went down, Kang Jin-sung tore his obliques and is unlikely to return this season. Cho Sung-hoon, who was one of Kim Won-hyung’s favorites to replace him, underwent elbow ligament reconstruction surgery (Tommy John surgery) in August and is out for the long haul. Even Choi Jeong-jeong, a key hitter, was unable to play against Incheon Lotte on Sept. 24 due to back pain. Water was leaking from everywhere on the ship and red emergency lights were illuminated. There was no one to blame.
The loss of McCarty, who had been a staple in the starting rotation, is painful. Currently, SSG is forcing its starters to pitch on four days’ rest for the season finale. Kim Kwang-hyun and Roenis Elias, pitchers in their mid-30s, are no exception. Even McCarty, who is relatively used to pitching on four days’ rest compared to Korean pitchers, had to help out. But that’s not how the regular season works. SSG is expected to bring back Oh Won-seok from the bullpen to start.메이저사이트
There’s no guarantee that McCarty’s SSG career will continue. McCarty, who filled in for Shawn Morimando this year, was once touted as one of the best left-handed pitchers in the league due to his good command and aggressiveness. In fact, his performance in the first half of the season – 13 games and 75 innings – was the best of the bunch, with a 7-3 record and a 2.52 ERA.
In the second half, however, he went 2-2 with a 4.58 ERA in 11 games and 55 innings pitched. In the middle of the year, he was sidelined with a forearm injury. In the second half, his batting average reached a whopping 0.309. SSG manager Kim Won-hyung diagnosed the injury as “not a loss of strength,” but the team didn’t get a chance to prove it. If SSG slips to sixth or seventh place and McCarty doesn’t re-sign, it could be the last time we see him grimacing after pitching the second inning.