Ex-MLB All-Star Ryu Hyun-jin to make KBO reg. season return in Opening Day start

Ryu Hyun-jin of the Hanwha Eagles pitches in a Korea Baseball Organization preseason game against the Lotte Giants at Sajik Baseball Stadium in the southeastern city of Busan, March 17. Yonhap

Former major league All-Star Ryu Hyun-jin will headline the list of Opening Day starters in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) on Saturday, as he marks his homecoming with the Hanwha Eagles after more than a decade in the bigs.

Managers of the 10 KBO clubs unveiled their starting pitchers for the first day of the 2024 season during media day in Seoul on Friday. All five games will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Ryu was a no-brainer choice for the Eagles, who will play the defending Korean Series champions LG Twins at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. This will be Ryu’s sixth Opening Day nod.

Ryu first pitched for the Eagles from 2006 to 2012, and then pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Toronto Blue Jays 카지노 over the next 11 years. The run included his lone All-Star selection in 2019 for the Dodgers. He was the National League starter for the Midsummer Classic that year and led the majors with a 2.32 ERA, too.

Ryu rejoined the Eagles on an eight-year, 17 billion won ($12.7 million) contract in February, becoming the highest-paid player in KBO history and instantly sending a jolt through the league.

The Twins will counter with their first-year American starter Dietrich Enns. The left-hander had a 1.80 ERA in 10 preseason innings, with 12 strikeouts against four walks.

Ryu’s first KBO regular season start since 2012 will likely garner the most eyeballs on Saturday, though there’s no shortage of star power in other pitching matchups.

Just west of Seoul in Incheon, left-hander Kim Kwang-hyun, one-time big leaguer himself, will start for the home team SSG Landers. It will be Kim’s fifth Opening Day assignment.

The Lotte Giants will counter with second-year American pitcher Aaron Wilkerson. Wilkerson was a midseason arrival last year and famously combined for a no-hitter with two relievers in August.

The KT Wiz, the Korean Series runner-up in 2023, will have William Cuevas making his third Opening Day start against the Samsung Lions in Suwon, just south of Seoul. Cuevas has been excellent against the Lions so far, with a 3.10 ERA in 15 career starts.

The Lions will have their new American starter Connor Seabold on the mound.

Another battle of foreign pitchers will take place in Changwon, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, where new pitcher Kyle Hart will start for the home team NC Dinos against Raul Alcantara of the Doosan Bears. Alcantara will make his third Opening Day appearance.

In the southwestern city of Gwangju, first-year American pitcher Wil Crowe will toe the rubber for the Kia Tigers, as they host the Kiwoom Heroes and their right-hander Ariel Jurado. It will be the first Opening Day starts for both pitchers.

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