Park Jong-hun of the SSG Landers pitches against the NC Dinos in the bottom of the first inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Changwon NC Park in Changwon in May. (Yonhap)
The first-place team in South Korean baseball this season will lose an ace for the rest of the year to an elbow surgery, with another starting pitcher facing a similar fate.
The SSG Landers announced Friday that submariner Park Jong-hun will undergo a season-ending elbow operation in Los Angeles next week.
Park flew to the US earlier this week to get a second opinion on his ailing right elbow from Dr. Neal ElAttrache at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. A doctor in Seoul initially recommended surgery for Park, who took himself out of a game against the Hanwha Eagles last Friday with elbow pains.
The Landers took Friday's action while in first place in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) at 28-19, two games ahead of the KT Wiz.
Park had been the Landers' top starter, with a 4-2 record and a team-leading 2.82 ERA.
Injury woes continued for the Landers on Friday, with the news that another starter, Moon Seung-won, will also visit Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic next week for further tests on his right elbow.
Last year, Moon had surgery to remove a bone fragment in the same right elbow, and doctors told him at the time he had partial ligament damage. According to a Landers official, Moon was told he could choose to rehab his elbow but he would eventually need surgery at some point.
Moon has a 2-2 record with a 2.86 ERA this year. He last pitched on Sunday against the Hanwha Eagles, holding them to a run over six innings.
Park and Moon join their American rotation mate Artie Lewicki on the sidelines.
In his first KBO season, Lewicki has made just four starts, with a 1-0 record and a 3.77 ERA across 14 1/3 innings.
He suffered an oblique injury in April that kept him out for over a month. He returned last Saturday but pitched just one inning in that game. He was later diagnosed with a pectoral injury, and the Landers said he will be out at least four weeks.
SSG manager Kim Won-hyong has said the team is looking for a possible replacement for Lewicki. (Yonhap)