Lotte Giants outfielder Ahn Kwon-soo made a miraculous recovery from elbow surgery and played in a rehab game a month earlier than expected. He went 3-for-3 with a home run to start his comeback.
Ahn underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow in early June. At the time, Lotte said that Ahn’s post-surgery rehabilitation would take about three months. He was not expected to return until September.
Until recently, the latest update on Ahn’s rehabilitation was, “My elbow is in better condition than before the surgery, but I still don’t have 100% batting feeling or throwing.”
Ahn Kwon-soo started in left field on the 28th against the KIA 2nd team in the Futures League at Hampyeong Stadium. He also played outfield defense instead of being a designated hitter.
꽁머니지급 In the first inning, he singled to right against KIA starting pitcher Kim Jae-yeol. He drew a two-strike walk in an unfavorable count. Hwang Sung-bin singled and advanced to second, but was thrown out at third on Seo Dong-wook’s grounder to the third baseman. Ji Ji-wan followed with a two-run home run to make it 2-0.
Ahn Kwon-soo led off the third inning with a single up the middle. Hwang Sung-bin drew a walk and advanced to second. He advanced to third on Seo Dong-wook’s grounder to shortstop, but Ji Ji-wan grounded out to end the inning.
With one out in the fifth, Lee singled up the middle. Hwang Sung-bin tried to steal second, but was tagged out. Ahn Kwon-soo, who went 3-for-3, was replaced by Jang Doo-seong on defense in the bottom of the fifth. In defense, he made one out on Jeong Jung-won’s fly ball in the second inning.
Ahn Kwon-soo signed with Lotte for an annual salary of 80 million won after being released by Doosan last year. He took over the leadoff duties after an explosive batting performance in the exhibition games, going 5-for-7 with 16 RBIs in 28 at-bats.
After the opening day, he performed well as the top hitter and led Lotte’s upward trend. In the month of April, Ahn batted 3-for-8 with 12 RBI, 10 runs scored and four stolen bases in 22 games.
However, his performance declined in May as he missed time due to recurring pain from a bone spur in his elbow. In 16 games in May, he batted 2-for-11 (50 at-bats) with four home runs, nine RBIs, and six stolen bases. Eventually, the pain worsened, and on June 6, he was removed from the active roster and placed on the operating table.
A combination of the departure of Ahn Kwon-soo, an overloaded bullpen, and poor performances from foreign players has seen Lotte slide from third to sixth place since June.
Lotte has been boosted by the addition of pitcher Wilkerson and batsman Goodrum. Despite falling to sixth place, they are only 0.5 games behind fifth-place KT and 2.5 games behind fourth-place NC. The race for the top five in the second half is in full swing.
After the surgery, Ahn Kwon-soo worked hard on his rehabilitation and started playing in the second team on the 28th. If he returns to the first team after gaining more experience in the second team, it will be an additional boost for Lotte in the race for the top five.