DAEGU, May 17 (Yonhap) -- Having shaken off some early-season woes, Samsung Lions reliever Oh Seung-hwan will return to his familiar spot as the club's closer.
Lions manager Park Jin-man told reporters Wednesday that Oh, the all-time saves leader in Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) history with 374, will once again close out games, effective immediately.
Oh, 40, lost the closer job in April and even made his first career start on May 4 in a desperate attempt to right the ship. He was then sent down to the Lions' minor league team for a conditioning stint, and rejoined the KBO squad Sunday.
In his first game back on Tuesday, Oh worked a scoreless inning in relief against the Kia Tigers. And Park was sold.
"Oh Seung-hwan pitched with confidence last night and he will start getting into games in save situations," Park said before the Lions hosted the Tigers for the second game of their three-game set at Daegu Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, some 235 kilometers southeast of Seoul. "His pitches had more zip than earlier in the year. I got the impression that he'd worked really hard to get to that point."
Park also said Lee Seung-hyun, a 20-year-old left-hander who had been filling in as the closer, was dropped from the active roster due to lower back pain.
Oh will now be chasing a new personal milestone in a career full of many.
He is four saves away from reaching 500 for his professional career. In addition to 374 in the KBO, Oh recorded 80 saves for three clubs in Major League Baseball and 42 more for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.