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Rookie pitcher solid in 1st preseason start

All Headlines 17:00 March 13, 2018

SUWON, South Korea, March 13 (Yonhap) -- A highly-touted rookie pitcher made a solid impression in his first preseason game for his Korea Baseball Organzation (KBO) club on Tuesday.

The Samsung Lions started right-hander Yang Chang-sub in the preseason opener against the KT Wiz at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, 40 kilometers south of Seoul. The 18-year-old, No. 2 overall pick in last year's draft, responded by holding the Wiz to a run on three hits and four walks in four innings.

Yang left the game with the score tied at 1-1, and the Wiz went on to win the game 3-2.

Yang went 7-2 with a 1.44 ERA as a high school senior last year, and the Lions, who have finished ninth among 10 clubs in each of the past two seasons, will need all the help they can get from their pitching staff.

Yang Chang-sub of the Samsung Lions throws a pitch against the KT Wiz during their Korea Baseball Organization preseason game at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on March 13, 2018. (Yonhap)

Before Tuesday's game, manager Kim Han-soo said pitching will have to lead the way if the Lions are to return to their glory days -- they won four straight championships from 2011 to 2014 -- and he will give all rookies, including Yang, as many opportunities as possible during the preseason.

Yang almost came undone by his walks. He issued two walks in the first inning alone, but got out of the jam by striking out Hwang Jae-gyun.

The Wiz got their only run off Yang in the third inning, with Yoon Suk-min's two-out single.

In the bottom of the fourth, Yang got into more trouble after a single, a wild pitch and a walk put men at first and second, before getting Jung Hyun to fly out to center for the final out.

There was also an interesting subplot to the game, as Yang went up against the first overall pick from the draft, KT outfielder Kang Baek-ho.

And Yang won the mini battle within the game, as Kang went 0-for-2 with a groundout and a line out.

Yang tossed 79 pitches, the most he's pitched since joining the Lions. He made 28, 39, and 39 pitches in each of his first three outings during spring training.

Yang said afterward he was far from pleased with his own outing.

"I am not satisfied with anything. I threw too many balls and I didn't have good control," he said. "I tried to treat this as just another game and pitch with the same mindset that I've always had. I was overthrowing a bit at first but I started to relax more later."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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