To heal a blister on his pitching hand that has been bothering him all year, Nexen Heroes' right-hander Shin Jae-young will go the extra mile -- to the nearest bathroom, perhaps.
Add the 2016 Korea Baseball Organization Rookie of the Year to the list of pitchers who will urinate on their hands, as long as it means their blisters will go away. Rich Hill of the Los Angeles Dodgers has been known to do it, and Jameson Taillon of the Pittsburgh Pirates said earlier this week he'd be willing to try it. Even retired hitters like Moises Alou and Jorge Posada did it to improve their batting grip when they were playing.
There doesn't seem to be any scientific proof of urine's effect on callused hands. Hill has said he didn't think urine worked for him. But Shin begged to differ.
In this file photo from April 3, 2018, Shin Jae-young of the Nexen Heroes throws a pitch against the KT Wiz in a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. (Yonhap)
"It felt a little unpleasant at first, but I've kept on doing it," Shin said Thursday before the Heroes' game against the Kia Tigers at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. "I think it does help with my blister. Even Esmil Rogers and Jake Brigham have recommended it," he added, referring to his foreign teammates.
Shin went 15-7 with a 3.90 ERA in 2016 to earn the top rookie honors. But he slumped to a 6-7 season in 2017, while his ERA also went up to 4.54. This year, Shin has been even worse, posting a 7.56 ERA and a 2-4 record in nine starts.
Shin had to cut his most recent start short after five innings on Wednesday because of a blister on his right middle finger.
Shin held the Tigers to a run on five hits through five innings. He'd only thrown 71 pitches and could have stayed in the game for a couple more innings if not for the blister. He has yet to pitch more than six innings this year.
And Shin didn't even get a win in the end. The Heroes' bullpen blew a 7-1 lead and let the Tigers tie the score at 7-7 in the seventh inning, before rallying to win 8-7.
Manager Jang Jung-suk said after the game that though Shin's blister was small, he took the pitcher out of the game for precautionary reasons.
And no one is more frustrated than Shin himself.
Nexen Heroes` pitcher shows a blister on his right middle finger at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on May 17, 2018. (Yonhap)
"As long as my finger holds up, I can go deep into games," he said. "I threw more than 100 pitches a game in spring training."
Shin blamed his blister issue on sweaty hands. When he picks up the rosin bag with a sweaty hand during games, the hand will go dry quickly and start cracking.
He recently purchased an electronic device to treat excessive sweating and is considering undergoing operation to remove sweat glands after this season.
"On Wednesday, it was a bit humid inside the dome because it was raining, and that's why I had that small blister," Shin said. "I've been trying to take care of it but it's been so tough. Because of the rules, I have to watch what substances I put on my hand, too." (Yonhap)