Exit from Lotte → Resurgence of MLB → Minor relegation to surgery… A man of will, bad news overlaps

Adrian Sampson (32‧ Chicago Cubs안전놀이터), who played for Lotte in 2020 and is familiar to KBO League fans, is having a tough time. He was demoted to the minor leagues due to being pushed out of the selection competition, and as the surgery overlapped, the timing of his re-challenge became unclear.

Chicago Cubs manager David Ross announced at a meeting with local media on the 8th (Korean time) that “Sampson has undergone knee surgery.” Sampson, who has not yet played in the major leagues this season, was playing for the Iowa Cubs, a Triple-A team under the club. However, his right knee dislocated, and he ended up on the operating table on the 7th.

Ross added that it was “undecided” on when Sampson would return. It is not an elbow or shoulder injury that is fatal for a pitcher, but his knee is also an area that greatly affects pitching. Normal pitching is impossible if the knee hurts in the center of the lower body right now. Rehabilitation after surgery is expected to take a considerable amount of time.

Sampson, who made his major league debut in Seattle in 2016, played for Texas in 2018 and 2019, recording 6-11 with a 5.64 ERA in 40 games (19 starts) over two years. He signed a contract with Lotte as an incumbent major leaguer and was expected to play an ace role. However, at Lotte, he failed to meet his expectations, and in the end, his life as a journeyman began without receiving an offer to renew his contract.

However, the man of will eventually succeeded in returning to the major leagues in 2021. He joined the Cubs’ starting rotation at the end of the season and started five games. In 2021, in 10 games, he achieved a decent performance of 1 win, 2 losses and an average ERA of 2.80, and in 2022, with a good record of 4 wins and 5 losses and an average ERA of 3.11 in 21 games (19 starting games), he was ready for the Cubs mound.

However, ahead of this season, he was pushed out of the starting rotation, and Sampson’s place went back to Wesneski. After going down to the minor leagues, Sampson played in two Triple A games, but his performance was not good and he even underwent knee surgery.

Pitching is possible only when the knee is restored, and re-challenge in the major leagues begins with health. He could always be an option for the Cubs if he pitches normally after returning to the ground. Since the Cubs have already seen Sampson’s skills and utilization for two seasons, the possibility of a reversal at the end of the season is sufficient. In fact, Sampson has memories of being active in the middle and late seasons in both the last two seasons.

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