“I feel really good today, but from tomorrow I will work hard again.”

Kim Taek-yeon, a right-handed pitcher from Incheon High School who donned a Doosan Bears jersey after being selected as the second overall pick in the KBO rookie draft, expressed his feelings with as much grace as the team’s mascot, the bear.

Although the nerve-wracking moment has passed and he can now enjoy the joy of being a professional athlete, he is full of thoughts of training harder to adapt to the professional game.

“This is the position I dreamed of when I started playing baseball, and I’m honored to meet a good team called Doosan,” Kim said after the 2024 KBO Rookie Draft held at the Westin Chosun Seoul in Jung-gu, Seoul on Thursday.

“Since I was a kid, when I watched the postseason, Doosan was always the team that went to the (fall) league. I think they’re a really good team,” he said. “I also think it’s going to be very competitive. I will do my best to play right from next year and be a part of the team that goes to the Korean Series.”

Doosan President Kim Tae-ryong expressed his excitement over Kim’s selection, saying that he could be Doosan’s closer in two to three years at the earliest.

“He is a very intelligent player. Everything from his throwing motion to his ball movement is good, but above all, he has a good mind,” he said.

Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop commented on Kim’s appointment, saying, “I will judge the position based on the player’s ability. There may be roles that he wants to play,” he said, reserving immediate judgment.

Kim took the mound for five consecutive days at the World Youth Baseball Classic in Taiwan, which concluded last week, and pitched seven innings of relief in the bronze medal game against the United States.

“I’ve thrown a lot of long innings, and I’m confident in my stamina. It doesn’t matter if I have a streak or not. I’m confident in the bullpen and starting. If you ask me to do it, I’ll do it,” he said emphatically.

As a fastball is his strong point, he hasn’t set any role models in the professional stage.

“I was an amateur player, but now I’m a professional player,” he said.

Instead, he said, “I will be an example for student athletes in the future.”

While he doesn’t have a pitcher to look up to, he does have a hitter he’d like to face.

That’s SSG Landers slugger Choi Jung.

Kim, who hails from Incheon, was surprised to learn that Choi is still playing, saying, “I cheered for him a lot as a kid, but now he’s a professional baseball player. If we ever meet, I would like to have a head-to-head match,” he said. 안전놀이터

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