Moon Dong-ju (Hanwha Eagles), the new “ace” of the Korean National Baseball Team at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, is preparing for another international tournament.
Since June 6, Moon has been training at Daegu Samsung Lions Park in preparation for the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) 2023. He warmed up and checked his physical condition before his first practice game against Sangsung on the 8th.
Moon, who is in his second year as a professional, competed in the Hangzhou Asian Games earlier this month, going 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in two games and 10 innings pitched. Both games were against Chinese Taipei, and he pitched much better in the final (six shutout innings) than he did in the group stage (four innings, two runs), helping his team win its fourth straight tournament. At the time, coach Ryu Jung-il was full of praise for Moon, naming him the team’s MVP alongside “captain” Kim Hye-sung (Kiwoom Heroes).굿모닝토토
After seven days of training, Moon said, “I have a lot to show, but I’m also worried because I’ve been resting so much. I also took a break before the Asian Games and prepared well, and this time I also prepared well by taking a break. I think I can definitely do well, so I don’t think I’m afraid of anything.”
The team will play two practice games against Sangsung on the 8th and 11th to get a feel for the game, with Moon Dong-ju and Kwak Bin (Doosan Bears) taking the mound in the first game. For Moon, it will be his first start since the Asian Games.
“I won’t know how I feel until tomorrow (Oct. 8). It’s only a month since the Asian Games final (Oct. 7), so I’m curious to see how I’ll feel. Still, I don’t want to stand out more or think that each team will know me because they will analyze my strength. Still, I think it’s true that I want to do well,” he said.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve pitched, so I don’t think I should focus on any part of it, but I think I should pitch the way I think, even if everything isn’t perfect. Even if you’re not at 100 percent, I think you should pitch as close to 100 percent as possible.”
As with the Asian Games, the team is made up of players of the same age group, so there is no problem with adjustment. “I prepared a little bit for the APBC, but I think I had a good rest,” said Moon Dong-joo. “Personally, I think the atmosphere is better than I thought because I’m joining the national team after a good result (at the Asian Games), and I think I’m training well because I have a lot of friends my age and close older brothers,” he said.
Moon is eager to relive the memories of the Asian Games and expressed his desire to stand on the mound in front of a packed Tokyo Dome. “I haven’t heard anything about the Tokyo Dome, but I honestly want to pitch in front of a full house. I don’t know if the Tokyo Dome will be full in the game I pitched, but I have an idea that I want to pitch in a full house,” he said. “But it’s not something I can do, but if I have awareness, I hope it will be full,” he smiled.
Although he hasn’t thought about starting in the Korea-Japan game, Moon is eager to fulfill his role in any game. “If I do (start in the Korea-Japan game), I think I have to give it my all, and I think I have to throw even harder than I did in the Asian Games final,” he said.