Kim Tae-hoon, who donned a Samsung Lions uniform ahead of this season as a free agent compensation for Kim Sang-soo, returned to the field after 110 days.

Kim started at second base and 꽁머니 left field against NC in the 2023 KBO Futures League at Masan Stadium on April 25. It’s been 110 days since Kim played in a live game since April 6 against the Daegu Hanwha Eagles. Kim got a hit in his first at-bat in the first inning.

Kim was injured on April 8 while training at Jamsil Stadium. At the time, a Samsung representative said, “After an MRI examination at SM Imaging, we received a result that the damage to his ulnar collateral ligament was severe. He will need to wear a cast for about two weeks and undergo a rehabilitation process. It is expected that it will take about 12 weeks to return to work.”

It was a devastating injury. Kim Tae-hoon left KT Wiz for Samsung before the season as a free agent compensation for Kim Sang-soo. He was recognized by Samsung manager Park Jin-man since the spring training camp in Okinawa, Japan, and was named the MVP of the tournament. In the exhibition games, he batted .314 with 11 hits, three home runs, 12 RBIs, and six runs scored.

However, an unexpected injury broke the hearts of both Park and Samsung fans. “It’s even more unfortunate that he got injured during training, not during the game,” Park Jin-man said after the injury.

He quickly improved his condition and prepared for the second half. When we last spoke, he was hoping to return in mid-August, but he returned in late July. He is looking forward to playing in the Futures League to establish his pace and batting, and to return to the first team and give Samsung a big boost.

Meanwhile, there were two other familiar faces in the game for Samsung fans. Infielder Oh Jae-il and pitcher Baek Jung-hyun. Oh batted fourth and designated hitter, while Baek started the game. Oh hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning. Baek pitched a scoreless first inning.

Oh suffered a hamstring injury while running the bases against the Pohang Doosan Bears on May 5. He received a disappointing medical report that showed an 8-centimeter damage to his hamstring. Baek Jung-hyun hasn’t pitched since June 23 against the Incheon SSG Landers due to left elbow pain.

Both players are hoping to regain enough fitness to play a full game and contribute to Samsung’s second-half rebound. Park Jin-man said, “Baek Jeong-hyun will pitch once for the Futures and if he is fine, we will send him out against KIA on August 1. Oh Jae-il is in better shape than expected. He will play in the Futures game next week. Initially, he will bat designated hitter. Assuming he feels better, we are looking at a return to the first team in early August.”

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