Ex-MLB veteran Choo Shin-soo willing to play hurt in 1st KBO postseason

November 02, 2022

INCHEON, Nov. 2 (Yonhap) — Long known for his tireless work ethic, dating back to his days in Major League Baseball (MLB), SSG Landers veteran Choo Shin-soo was the first in the batting cage Wednesday. He stepped in about four hours before Game 2 of the Korean Series against the Kiwoom Heroes at Incheon SSG Landers Field in Incheon, just west of Seoul.

Choo, 40, just wants to make up for some lost time with the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) championship at stake.

Choo missed the final three weeks of the regular season after suffering broken ribs on a swing. Fortunately for Choo, the Landers hung on to win the regular season title and received a bye to the Korean Series, earning themselves three weeks of break for rest, recuperation and training.

Choo looked none the worse for wear in Tuesday’s Game 1, going 2-for-6 as the leadoff man and designated hitter. Choo tried to rally the Landers from a 7-6 deficit with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, as his single put men at the corners. The Landers ultimately fell short and will once again look to the former American League All-Star to get things going from the top of the order.

“If I may use this analogy, I feel like a rubber band that is fully stretched and is on the brink of snapping,” Choo said. “I still have some pain on my side, but when I take swings, I am willing to have my muscle on the side explode.”

Choo played in seven postseason games in the majors but none since 2016. He signed with the Landers in early 2021, following 16 MLB seasons, with a stated goal of trying to win his first championship ring, and they must battle back after dropping the first game at home.

“Considering that we hadn’t played a real game for over 20 days, I think we swung the bat pretty well,” said Choo, whose team outhit the Heroes 12-8. “We were the best team in the regular season. If we can do the same things we did for 144 games then, we should be good enough to come out on top here.”