Technical support issues
Doosan's main catcher Yang Eui-ji met with reporters after becoming the first winner of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Awards at the Westin Chosun Hotel Grand Ballroom in Seoul on the 27th and said, "I have no doubt (the revival next year) because Kim Jae-hwan went to my friend."
Yang Eui-ji's friend is Kang Jung-ho, a former KBO league shortstop and major leaguer who retired from active duty and is running a baseball academy in Los Angeles. A Doosan source told OSEN that Kim Jae-hwan returned to his U.S. training on his own will. "I heard he will take batting training at Kang Jung-ho Academy in the U.S."
Kim Jae-hwan, who suffered a terrible slump for two years after signing a four-year 11.5 billion won FA contract, participated in the closing camp in Icheon from Oct. 31 to Nov. 24 and completed manager Lee Seung-yeop's sweatshirt hell training. Usually, a large number of rookies whose baseball has not been established participate in the closing camp, but the coach's request and the player's will combine to achieve an unusual finishing training for a 16-year veteran. Kim Jae-hwan dreamed of reviving the third season of the FA contract by learning the know-how of Lee, who was called a national hitter when he was an active player.
Kim Jae-hwan voluntarily boarded a flight to the U.S. on the 26th after returning the rest in December due to lack of digesting the hell training. He said, "I want to join the February spring camp while remembering what I felt during the final camp in December and January." In order to maintain the sense of the final training, he used Kang Jung-ho, who had a strong sense of hitting long balls during his active career, as a mentor.
After graduating from Gwangju Jeil High School in 2006, Kang was named eighth in the first round of the Hyundai Rookie of the Year draft. Later, he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Major League thanks to his batting performance of .356 in 117 games, 40 homers, 117 RBIs and 103 runs, and jumped to become a center hitter for the Pirates by hitting 15 homers in 2015 and 21 homers in 2016. Kang, who retired after the 2019 season, posted a combined 297 games batting average of .254 with 46 homers, 144 RBIs, 120 runs scored, and OPS .796.
Kang Jung-ho's academy has already become an issue once in the KBO League. NC's center hitter Son Ah-seop visited Kang ahead of the 2023 season and corrected his batting form, which led to his first career batting champion in the KBO League at the tender age of 36. Son Ah-seop once said, "He helped Kang regain his good performance. I was able to find a normal swing trajectory."
The Doosan team seems certain that Kim Jae-hwan will make a comeback next season. He showed a different mindset just by digesting the "hellish training" in the final camp, but he made a decision to travel to the U.S. with his own money during the inactive period, raising expectations for his change in the 2024 season.
Yang Eui-ji said, "I saw Jae-hwan (Kim) playing hard. We talked about this and that in the middle of the season, but he had a hard time. Rather than telling me what to do next to him, he gave me mental advice to help Jae-hwan do well again," adding, "I think he will overcome it. I have no doubt because I went to my friend (Jeong-ho)."
Coach Lee, who led the training camp, also said, "Now is the self-training period. It is not a situation that I can overlook. If we carry out the training we had during the closing camp in December the same way, we will have better training in January, and if we move forward step by step, we will have better training in February," adding, "My problems will come out again through spring camps and exhibition games, but if I catch them little by little, I believe that I will be able to achieve results that can forget my sluggish performance for two years. No, I believe that. Kim has nowhere to hide anymore," forecasting a bright future for the 2024 season with 11.5 billion guns.
Friday, January 19, 2024