SSG Landers sign temporary replacement for injured pitcher Elias

The South Korean baseball club SSG Landers on Wednesday signed Japanese pitcher Keisho Shirakawa as a temporary replacement for injured starter Roenis Elias. The Landers became the first Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club to make use of the new rule that allows the signing of foreign players to short-term deals in case of injuries to incumbent players. Elias was diagnosed with a left oblique injury Tuesday and will likely miss at least six weeks of action. Instead of cutting ties with the Cuban left-hander, who is 2-3 with a 4.73 ERA this season, the Landers opted to fill the void with Shirakawa. The 22-year-old right-hander has been playing independent ball in Japan since 2020. In November 2023, the KBO instituted a rule taking effect in the 2024 season, whereby teams can acquire a temporary replacement if an incumbent player suffers an injury that requires at least six weeks on the sidelines and lands on the newly recreated rehab list. In this case, teams won't lose one of their two opportunities to change foreign players during a season. The league sought to address competitive imbalances caused by long-term injuries to foreign players. The Landers have already used one such chance last month, when they released struggling starter Robert Dugger and signed Drew Anderson. Once on the rehab list, the injured foreign players will be eligible to return after a minimum of six weeks. And when they return to action, their replacement must either be replaced by another foreign player or be waived outright. Temporary replacement players may not be paid more than US$100,000 per month. Shirakawa agreed to 1.8 million yen ($11,516). Pitching for the Tokushima Indigo Socks, Shirakawa has gone 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 29 innings so far this season, ranking among the leaders in the Shikoku Island League Plus in ERA and Ks. The Landers said Shirakawa has a deceptive delivery and tempo that could keep hitters off balance, and he can touch 150 kph with his fastball. The Landers added the right-hander also has good command of his sliders, curveballs and changeups. Shirakawa is the seventh Japanese player in KBO history and the first since Ken Kadokura pitched for the Samsung Lions in 2011. Source: Yonhap News Agency