Hanwha Eagles veteran right-hander Jang Min-jae (33). 안전놀이터 Although he achieved a dramatic rebound last year, his eyes are still burning with the will to compete.
Jang Min-jae recorded 7 wins and 8 losses and an average ERA of 3.55 in 126⅔ innings in 32 games last year. Although he did not fill the regular innings, he played the role of a ‘local ace’ by posting the most wins among Hanwha’s domestic pitchers. In 2021, after only 2 losses without a win in 29⅓ innings in 12 games, he played the role of the last bastion by keeping the rotation firmly even in the difficult situation of the lowest-ranking Hanwha. Director Carlos Subero, who did not moderate Jang Min-jae in his first year in office, bowed his head and said, “I didn’t recognize him.”
Jang Min-jae, whom we met at Bellbank Park in Mesa, Arizona, USA, where the Hanwha Spring Camp is in progress, smiled broadly, saying, “Camp is a time of worry whether it goes well or not. I am trying to maintain my composure.” He said, “The best thing is that I am not sick and my body is being steadily built.” He also explained, “I am about 80 to 90% in pitching condition. After playing live pitching and practice games, I plan to slow down a bit and build my body in line with the actual game.”
The view that the innings, which rapidly increased to nearly 100 innings, could be a variable in Jang Min-jae’s pitching this season. If the pitcher is not young, the increased number of innings may act as a burden. However, Jang Min-jae said, “I’m just one year older. I’ve managed my innings well. Unlike when I was younger, I’ve learned to some extent how to manage my body so that I don’t get hurt. I’m running a routine based on a schedule that suits it.” He emphasized, “It is natural for a professional to feel pressured and obsessed with winning every game.”
Jang Min-jae, who has gone through all the battles before and after, has risen to the top of the starting lineup. He might be a little more greedy. The fruit of the ‘selection of the local opening game’ emphasized by coach Subero is also worthy of a challenge. Regarding this, Jang Min-jae said, “I am greedy because it is not an opportunity that is easily given, but it is a part for the coach to judge.” “I have come so far with the thought that there is no place for me. In my professional life, I have seen many people who fall into abyss in an instant. You must always be nervous until you take off your uniform,” he said. I want to put meaning in wearing it and standing on the mound. There are many players who want to throw but can’t.”
It’s time to take a look around you, not just yourself. As the eldest member of the starting lineup, Jang Min-jae’s responsibility is not small. Jang Min-jae laughed, saying, “No matter how much you teach me, if I can’t feel it, it’s nothing in the end.” He said, “Keep your ears open, but you have to know how to add and subtract the stories you hear around you. If you can’t do that, it’s difficult. With a stereotyped way of thinking, you can’t follow through. Get as much information as possible by harassing coaches and seniors, but try to find your own.” Do it,” he advised his juniors.