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KBO's reigning saves leader ruled out for 12 weeks with ankle injury

All News 16:15 February 16, 2021

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Yonhap) -- The reigning saves king in South Korean baseball will be sidelined for about three months with an ankle injury.

The Kiwoom Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced Tuesday their closer Cho Sang-woo will be out for 12 weeks with torn ligaments in his left ankle.

In this file photo from Nov. 2, 2020, Cho Sang-woo of the Kiwoom Heroes pitches against the LG Twins in the bottom of the eighth inning of the Korea Baseball Organization Wild Card game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Cho suffered that injury after rolling his ankle while covering the first base bag during a fielding drill at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul last Wednesday.

Spring training for KBO clubs began on Feb. 1, and the regular season is scheduled to start on April 3. If Cho remains on schedule during his rehab, he will likely miss about a month of regular season action.

Cho, 26, led all KBO closers last year with 33 saves, while recording a 2.15 ERA in 54 1/3 innings. Cho struck out 64 batters for a strikeout-per-nine innings ratio of 10.6, the second-highest mark of his career.

At the start of Tuesday's practice, Kiwoom manager Hong Won-ki said he has plenty of solid relievers who can step up during Cho's absence.

Cho is one of the KBO's hardest throwers and can routinely touch 150 kilometers per hour (93.2 miles per hour), but Hong said velocity won't be as important as experience when selecting his temporary closer.

In this file photo from Sept. 22, 2020, Cho Sang-woo of the Kiwoom Heroes prepares to pitch against the Kia Tigers in the bottom of the ninth inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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