‘Unified winner’ returns to fans’ embrace…what was it like to return after 435 days?

William Cuevas (KT Wiz) received a warm welcome from fans in his return to the KBO after 435 days.

KT announced on Sept. 9 that it has signed William Cuevas as a replacement for foreign pitcher Bo Schuler.

Cuevas first wore a KT uniform in the 2019 season. In the 2021 season, he pitched seven innings of one-hit ball in the tiebreaker against the Samsung Lions without allowing an earned run. He also pitched in Game 1 of the Korean Series against the Doosan Bears, allowing one run (one earned) in 7⅔ innings to lead the team to its first-ever combined victory.

Cuevas arrived in Korea via Incheon International Airport on April 12. He pitched out of the bullpen against the Incheon SSG Landers on the 14th and made his comeback against the Suwon Samsung Electronics on the 17th.

Before the game, KT manager Lee Kang-cheol said, “Cuevas will throw about 70 pitches,” adding, “He’s a good player. He will be tired (after coming to Korea). We will watch him for about two games.”

During Cuevas’ comeback game, KT held a ‘Welcome Back Cuevas’ event. A video of Cuevas’ performance through the 2021 season was made and shown on the electronic board. The fans’ welcome greetings were also videoed. KT fans presented Cuevas with coffee tea before the game to show their support.

Cuevas said, “I am very grateful for the hospitality of the club and the fans, who held events and sent me coffee tea. Even though I came back after a long time, they treated me like family. I feel the Korean spirit again. I will try to throw my best today,” he said.

In his comeback start, Cuevas went 4⅔ innings, allowing three runs (three earned) on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts. He threw 80 pitches, mixing a four-seam fastball (33), cutter (20), slider (14), changeup (8) and two-seam fastball (5). His fastball topped out at 150 km/h.

Cuevas threw a fastball in the first inning. He fired a 150km/h four-seam fastball to leadoff hitter Kim Ji-chan. He got Kim Ji-chan to ground out to first base, Kim Hyun-jun to strike out, and Jose Pirela to ground out to shortstop to end the first inning of his comeback.

The second and third innings were no different. In the top of the second, he struck out Kang Min-ho and Lee Jae-hyun before giving up a single to Kim Jae-sung, but retired Kim Dong-yeop on a fly ball to left field. In the top of the third, he walked Ryu Seung-min and Kim Young-woong before giving up a single up the middle to Kim Ji-chan, but got Kim Hyun-joon to ground out to first base to end the inning. The fourth inning ended with a triple play.

But in the fifth inning, Cuevas showed signs of life. He gave up a leadoff double to Kim Jae-sung. He then got Kim Dong-yeop and Ryu Seung-min to ground out to shortstop and first baseman, respectively, but gave up a single to Kim Young-woong with runners on second and third.토토사이트

Kim Young-woong then stole second base and Kim Ji-chan walked to load the bases. Up to bat was Kim Hyun-joon. Kim hit an RBI single to left field. After giving up the run, Cuevas was unable to close out the fifth inning and was removed from the mound. Son Dong-hyun came in for Cuevas and hit an RBI double off Pirela.

Cuevas appeared to struggle as his pitch count increased. However, he had just arrived in Korea. His jet lag was not perfect. As Lee said, he’ll need a couple of games to get acclimated to Korea and the KBO.

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