Ryu Hyun-jin’s ‘I want one of these’… Smart Moon Dong-joo

The Hanwha Eagles have a “monster” in Ryu Hyun-jin. Moon Dong-ju, who was slated to take over the role of homegrown ace in his third year, has been relieved of some of the pressure with the arrival of the big man. “It still doesn’t feel real,” Moon said, even though they’ve already had a few training sessions together.

Until Ryu’s arrival, Moon was the team’s homegrown ace in Hanwha’s plans. It’s a label that can be a bit overwhelming for a third-year pitcher who’s only been pitching full-time for the past year, but for Moon, the arrival of Ryu Hyun-jin was good news in more ways than one.

“I felt a lot of pressure, but I think the pressure is a little less now that we have a good senior on the team,” Moon said at the Gochinda Stadium in Okinawa, Japan, where Hanwha’s second spring training is underway. I’m trying to do what I was supposed to do,” he said.

When asked what it was like to meet Ryu Hyun-jin less than a week after joining the team, Moon said, “It’s great. We haven’t talked much yet, which is a bit disappointing, but we have a lot of time together, so I think I should approach him. I’m also planning to have a meal with him, so I think we’ll be able to get to know each other quickly,” he said excitedly.

He added, “You’re not one thing, you’re all different. “It doesn’t really feel real yet that we’re just coming to the training ground and training together,” he said, “but when the season starts and we’re in the starting rotation together, I might see my name in the starting lineup for the three-game series, and that will make it more real.

When asked if there was a moment when he realized that Ryu Hyun-jin was also a human being after working out with him, he laughed and said, “No.” Moon said, “There are so many things to learn. I haven’t seen him pitch properly yet, and I think it will be different when I see him pitch. There are so many things I’m looking forward to learning.”

When I asked Moon if he could pick one thing he would most like to have from the many things that Ryu has as a pitcher – a changeup, a cutter, a bold personality – to be more like him, he laughed and said, “I would have to change my name.” It was a clever answer to choose a name and have everything. “I want to imitate everything like that,” Moon said.

“Actually, I think that word is used because everything is perfect, and I want to be that kind of player. I want to be judged as good, but I’m still lacking a lot. Now that I have such a senior next to me, I think it will be an opportunity for me to see and learn more with my eyes and improve a lot.” He expressed his intention to use this opportunity as a springboard for growth.

The day before, Moon Dong-ju said that Hanwha became a pitching kingdom with the addition of Ryu Hyun-jin, saying, “There is a king, but it is not a kingdom. We are a people. We are lacking a lot, but we have a king, so I think we can follow him slowly and well,” to which Ryu responded, “I think he can be a king more than me, and I hope he doesn’t think that at all because he has all the skills to do that.”

Moon, who was under innings restrictions, threw 118⅔ innings for the first team last season, but with five innings in the Futures League, 10 innings at the Hangzhou 2022 토토 Asian Games, and 5⅔ innings in the APBC, he pitched 139⅓ innings, which is close to the limit. When asked about the need to prepare full-time once the innings limit is lifted, Moon said, “Actually, I prepare every year. Comparing the number of innings I pitched last year, I think it will be around the regulation innings, so I prepare the same as last year. I don’t think there will be a big problem.”

With the addition of Ryu Hyun-jin, Hanwha is considered to have the strength to reach the postseason and beyond. Counting Moon Dong-ju as a constant. “When you’re around someone who’s good, it can make you look like you’re good, but you have to be good first. If I follow a great senior, I will also have high goals, and if I follow those high goals, I can achieve better grades than I thought I could.”

“I think just setting a goal to follow Hyunjin will give me a chance to improve, so I think I just need to work hard with that goal,” he said. “I think I have to win at least 10 games, and I’m preparing hard and well. I will try to look beyond 10 wins and aim higher,” he said.

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