Ham underwent elbow surgery on Wednesday. “Ham Deok-ju underwent pin fixation surgery on his left joint at Sejong Sports Orthopedic Surgery on Wednesday due to microfractures in his main skull in his left elbow,” LG said on Tuesday. “He will return from June to July, expecting a six-month rehabilitation period.”
Ham Deok-ju became an FA after last season and signed a four-year contract with LG for a total of 3.8 billion won (down payment of 600 million won, annual salary of 1.4 billion won, and incentive of 1.8 billion won).
After signing a contract with FA, we had a medical test and found an abnormality in our elbow. “I was also considering rehabilitation without surgery, but I have to undergo surgery in order not to recurrence (injury). I decided to undergo surgery and proceeded with it,” an LG official said.
Ham Deok-ju has had injury issues every year during the last three seasons when he played for LG. During the FA contract, he added nearly 50 percent of his options due to concerns over injury. Since the first year of his contract, he has been unable to play full time due to injury and surgery.
In the 2021 season, he left due to a bone fragment injury in his elbow in early May, and returned in September due to rehabilitation, but his elbow injury recurred at the end of the season. He finished with one win, two losses and one hold with a 4.29 ERA in 16 games, and underwent surgery to remove bone fragment in his elbow at the end of the season. In the 2022 season, he went down to the second division in early May and was hampered by an injury while preparing to transfer to the starting pitcher. He pitched in 13 games until May and recorded a 2.13 ERA without a win or loss, and did not return to the first division until the end of the season.
In the 2022 season, he played an active role in healthy body from the opening game last year, but suffered an injury due to accumulation of fatigue in his elbow at the end of August. He rehabilitated until the end of the regular season in mid-October and returned to action in time for the Korean Series in November. He played again as a must-win group in the Korean Series.
Ham Deok-ju joined the Doosan Bears through the 2013 draft and wore the LG uniform through a trade ahead of the 2021 season. At the time, LG sent infielder Yang Seok-hwan and pitcher Nam-ho to Doosan, and made a 2-2 trade to bring Ham Deok-ju and Chae Ji-sun.
Ham Deok-ju pitched in 57 games in the 2023 season, recording four wins, four saves, 16 holds, and a 1.62 ERA in 55 ⅔ innings, serving as the team’s strong left-hander bullpen. He also pitched in four games in the Korean Series and contributed to the team’s overall win with a 2.70 ERA over three ⅓ innings.
Ham Deok-ju, who finished his contract, said, “I feel lighthearted because I can finish my contract before the end of this year. The team performed the best this season, and I am glad that I was able to throw without any injuries and help the team a little bit. Once again, I felt happy to be able to throw healthy. I will do my best to help the team continue to be a strong team with a consistent appearance without getting sick.”
“Ham Deok-ju is a pitcher with a lot of experience, including his national team experience. During the 23rd season, he recovered his health and performed his role in the team’s must-win group. I hope he will continue to be healthy and throw balls for the team,” the team said.