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‘Not a veteran yet’ on ’35-year-old Kim Tae-gun,’ Japanese coach says ‘growth plate’ is open

“I don’t think Kim Tae-gun is a veteran yet.”

These are the words of Battery Coach Nakamura Takeshi (real name Takeshi), who helped the KIA Tigers win the 2017 unified title. He said this with a smile as he returned to KIA after a six-year absence.

It was a rainy day at Narabunda Ballpark in Canberra, Australia. The players were unable to train normally, and most of them continued to train indoors and with weights. This allowed us to hear a lot from Coach Takeshi.

“I’m new to these rules, so it’s hard to say what to expect, but I’m also looking forward to it,” said Coach Takeshi about the changes this season. We are preparing well.”

For catchers, it’s an offseason of worry. Base sizes are getting bigger and the number of pitches they can throw is limited. The introduction of the Automatic Pitch Judgment System (ABS), or robotic umpires, has made framing, which was once considered to increase a catcher’s value, irrelevant.

However, Coach Takeshi noted the positive impact of the catcher’s experience on pitchers, saying, “While framing may not make a difference, it is a technique that can provide psychological comfort to the pitcher.”

Naturally, that brings us to Kim Tae-gun (35). Kim is in his 17th year as a professional catcher, starting with the LG Twins, then the NC Dinos, Samsung Lions, and finally KIA. He wore a catcher’s mask in 87 of the 114 games he played last year, a huge difference from Han Seung-taek (48), the second most, and more than double Han’s 619 innings (273⅓).

However, Coach Takeshi’s answer was surprising. “I don’t think Kim Tae-gun is a veteran yet,” he said.

Upon closer inspection, it’s clear that they have high hopes for him and believe in his potential for growth. Coach Takeshi said, “First of all, he has a good expression 파워볼게임 and actively communicates with the pitchers. He is trusted by the pitchers the most, so having a catcher like him, whether he is in or out of the game, is a good influence on the team.” “Let’s put our expectations on Kim Tae-gun.”

Kim made his first appearance in a KIA uniform last year. Takeshi, who watched Kim from another team, said he saw room for improvement in the mid-30s, and that’s why he said this.

With the KBO set to undergo a lot of changes this season, it will be interesting to see what the ‘non-veteran’ Kim Tae-gun can bring to the team and if Takeshi’s eye is right.

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