“I think we can definitely rebound.”
Despite calling Jamsil Stadium, the largest stadium in Korea, home, he hit 44 home runs to become the home run king. Once he made the leap to the top of the order, he was a reliable hitter who consistently hit 100 RBIs as the No. 4 hitter for the Doosan Bears.
That’s why Kim Jae-hwan’s (35) struggles this season are even more painful for manager Lee Seung-yeop. Lee still believes in the rebound of the left-handed slugger, whom he has watched with affection since his arrival.
He waited patiently with optimism, and the results have been good. Now, that “faith baseball” is Jae-hwan Kim. Can Kim Jae-hwan make a comeback?
Manager Lee Seung-yeop, who took over before the season, was not impatient despite having no managerial experience. He waited patiently when foreign pitcher Dylan Pyle left early in the season, and when more injuries occurred elsewhere, he brought in Brandon Waddell and found success.
They struggled with the shortstop position before the season, but they persevered and built an infinite competition mode, and eventually solved the problem with the rebound of veteran Kim Jae-ho.
Lee sighed deeply whenever he was asked about foreign-born Jose Rojas, who struggled throughout the first half of the season, but he believed in his potential and rebounded to hit .281 in the second half and .299 in August.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Lee said of Rojas, “but I think he’s definitely in better shape now than he was in the first half of the year. First of all, he’s hitting a lot of pitches to left field, and he’s using a toe step in unfavorable counts, even though he’s normally a leg kicker. In addition, I’ve been hitting bunts, so I’m getting a little bit of power,” he said with satisfaction.
After 108 games, Doosan is in sixth place with 54 wins, 53 losses and one tie, half a game behind the fifth-place KIA Tigers. They are still in contention for a spot in the fall baseball season, but they need to work harder. That’s where center fielder Kim Jae-hwan comes in.
Kim has a career batting average of .285 with 233 home runs. He signed a four-year, $11.5 billion contract as a free agent after the 2021 season, but disappointed with a .248 batting average with 23 home runs and 72 RBIs last year. Upon his arrival, Lee called for Kim to step up his game, but this season has been his worst since 2016, when he batted .219 with nine home runs and 40 RBIs.
Lee has shown faith in him by playing him consistently, but he hasn’t been able to find a solution. In the last three games against SSG Landers, he started all three games off the bench. It was a kind of stimulation therapy, but he was back in the starting lineup for the last two games against the LG Twins, which were canceled due to rain. “I have to play, I missed a lot last weekend,” Lee said when we met at Jamsil Stadium before the game against LG on the 30th.
When asked about his chances of rebounding, he replied: “It’s a difficult thing to talk about. It’s a very sensitive area and if you have something to say, it’s better to say it directly to the athlete. It’s a relationship between the coach and the player, but if you do it wrong, it can cause a lot of embarrassment,” he said.
However, he remains hopeful of a rebound. “I think we can definitely rebound. I just want them to do a little bit more. I’ll talk about the technical stuff directly,” he said. “We need to be better than we are now so we can move up a little bit. That’s why last week I tried not playing and pinch-hitting.”메이저사이트
“But there’s a difference between being in the lineup and being in the middle of the lineup, so in this series, he was in the lineup and he was canceled,” he said, adding, “He has to do his job and we have to wait.”
“I have to do my part, but I can only wait,” he said. There aren’t many games left, but it’s an important step towards fall baseball. What’s more, the role they will play in fall baseball will be worth the wait. Can Kim Jae-hwan, who has been giving Lee Seung-yeop a lot of trouble all season, make his manager smile with a miraculous rebound?