Hanhwa, which released Birch Smith, quickly recruited a new foreign pitcher.

Hanwha announced on the 19th that it has signed a contract with Ricardo Sanchez스포츠토토, a left-handed pitcher from Venezuela, for an annual salary of $400,000. The previous day (19th), the KBO completed the recruitment of a replacement player one day after requesting a waiver announcement for foreign pitcher Birch Smith. 

Sanchez, a 26-year-old young lefty born in 1997, made his major league debut in 2020 with the St. Louis Cardinals. He pitched in relief in all three games, posting an earned run average of 6.75 with 5 hits (1 home run), 5 walks, 4 strikeouts and 4 runs in 5⅓ innings.

In the minor leagues, Sanchez, who started 133 out of 140 career games, finished with a record of 32-52 and an ERA of 4.61. 

Last year, he recorded 7 wins, 5 losses, an average ERA of 4.95, and 103 strikeouts in 26 games (116⅓ innings) full-time in the Triple A team under the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies. This year, he had an average ERA of 5.40 and 8 strikeouts in 3 games (6⅔ innings) in Triple A affiliated with the Chicago White Sox. 

Hanwha expects that Sanchez, who uses curves, sliders, and changeups in addition to two-seams of similar restraints as fastballs in the late 140km/h range (up to 151km/h), will be able to digest stable innings with his unique aggressive pitching pattern. As the only left-handed starting resource in a starting lineup dominated by right-handed pitchers, it is also expected to be a resource that will add diversity. 

Sanchez plans to return to Korea in April and join the team as soon as administrative procedures are completed. Last year, it took about two months to recruit substitutes for Nick Kingham and Ryan Carpenter, but this year, the gap was minimized. 

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