How a pitcher who won 11 games in the first half of the season ended his time in Korea, and what to make of the subtle nerves surrounding medical checks for foreign pitchers.
LG Twins’ Adam Plutko was the best pitcher in the first half. After going 15-5 with a 2.39 ERA in 28 games last year, Plutko was re-signed with ease and has been one of the best pitchers in the league in the first half of the year, along with Eric Peddy (NC). In the first half alone, Plutko went 11-1 with a 2.21 ERA in 17 games. He’s been the primary reason LG has taken the lead.
With Casey Kelly struggling a bit, Plutko has played the “ace” role to perfection, minimizing the impact of faltering four or five starters. LG gave Plutko full credit.
The problem started right before the All-Star break. The break was meant to be a break, but Plutko’s injuries and the COVID-19 outbreak pushed back his second-half schedule. After his first start of the second half, on July 25, Plutko took another day off and returned in mid-August, pitching in three games, but that was it. After an August 26 start against the NC Dinos (four innings, one run), his regular season was over.
His return was pushed back after a pelvic contusion was discovered, and it’s likely we’ll be saying goodbye to Plutko for now. Plutko is currently not playing catch and has been out of action for too long. The LG baseball team has been discussing with Plutko, who had a hard time pitching in the Korean Series, to part ways.
Early on, Yeom Kyung-yup had expressed his displeasure with Plutko several times on the field. The LG team was in a quandary. He was delayed for various reasons at the start of the second half and hasn’t given a clear indication of his return since late August. The bottom line is that Plutko trusts the opinions of doctors in his home country of the United States more than he trusts the opinions of Korean doctors. In other words, the Korean specialists saw Plutko’s current condition in person and declared him fit to resume pitching, but the athlete trusted the comments of the American doctors, who sent him documents and feedback, over the Korean specialists and stopped pitching.메이저놀이터
Former SSG Landers pitcher Ernie Romero, who was sidelined with shoulder pain after not pitching a single game since the start of the season, had a different but similar situation to Plutko. Romero complained of shoulder pain while pitching in the second camp in Okinawa, Japan, and when it didn’t improve, he traveled alone to the United States instead of Korea to check in with his doctor and complete a rehabilitation program. Ironically, when SSG signed Romero, they received medical opinions from experts in Korea, the United States, and the Dominican Republic (Romero’s home country).
Of course, a player has to take care of his own body more than anyone else. As their physical condition is directly linked to their ‘ransom’, they are bound to be sensitive. But it’s a different story when foreign players in the KBO have a fundamental distrust of the quality of Korean medical care. In addition to Plutko, there have been many other cases of foreign players who have had major conflicts with their clubs due to differences between the diagnosis of Korean medical staff and the opinions of their personal doctors in the United States and elsewhere. Clubs don’t want to be seen to be in conflict with their players, so they play it cool and make up reasons for their absences. However, given the impact that an “ace” pitcher like Plutko can have on a team, it’s possible that in the future, there will be stipulations or options when signing foreign players. It’s not easy, but it seems like a necessary safeguard.