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The first team Kim Min-sung played for Lotte since his professional debut is Lotte. After graduating from Deoksu Jeongbo High School, he was selected by Lotte as the 13th pick in the second and second round in the 2007 rookie draft. Before moving the team to Nexen (currently Kiwoom) in a trade in 2010, he felt the cheering sound at Sajik Stadium.

After finishing the 2018 season, he moved to LG through sign-and-trade, and contributed to LG's 29-year integrated win last year. Kim Min-sung, who became a free agent again, returned to Lotte through sign-and-trade. The decision was made less than 10 days before the start of the spring camp. Kim will join the Lotte Marines for the first time in 14 years.

Kim Min-sung's jacket, which came to the airport wearing a suit, had a Lotte badge on it. "I feel different because I joined the team when I was a rookie," he said. "Now that I have some experience, I feel a little heavy responsibility to return to the veteran team."

Over the years, Lotte became a different team from the team that Kim Min-sung remembered. Kim Min-sung said, "When I played, there were a lot of seniors and seniors. There are so many young players playing now. If the seniors help the players do well, good results will come out."

I decided to go to Lotte because I put my top priority on the opportunity to play in the game. "I think I will have more opportunities at Lotte than when I was a backup," Kim Min-sung said. "I was able to make the decision because he needed me. And I felt like I could put my last efforts on fire as a player."

In fact, Lotte had to fill the infield gap. An Chi-hong, an internal FA, left for Hanwha, and Han Dong-hee will join the military from June if he is accepted by applying for Sangmu. There is an anxiety about the infield as the shortstop position has not been decided yet. Lotte manager Kim Tae-hyung already plans to use Kim Min-sung as second base.

"I'll prepare for the second baseman," Kim said. "Honestly, a shortstop is a bit burdensome. Even in the manager's plan, he would think that Lotte will definitely go with a good trend only when I don't play shortstop. If my role is possible, shouldn't I do well enough to suit it?"

At the spring camp, the team plans to stage aggressive competition for starting pitchers. "Last year, I had to prepare as a backup to be able to do so when the opportunity arises. Now that I have to compete for starting pitchers to some extent, I will prepare by maintaining my pace and conditioning myself well before the exhibition game without any injuries," Kim said.

He is also given a role as a senior. This is one of the reasons Lotte recruited Kim Min-sung. "I don't want to change the atmosphere of the team just because I'm coming," he said. "These days, my friends are watching from behind what their seniors do and how they live their lives, rather than talking a lot. If I come to the ballpark first and do my best, the players will trust me. I think it will help Lotte to produce team results in the long-term race."

Han Dong-hee expressed her determination to learn a lot from Kim Min-sung during this spring camp. "It would be nice to do it together for a long time, but it will not be an easy decision (to join the military)," Kim Min-sung, who heard this, said. "I will play baseball in the military, and when Han Dong-hee returns, Lotte will become a strong team only when I perform well. Although it is a short life, I want to eliminate the part that is shy when I personally look at it while living together."

On the same day, coach Kim Tae-hyung set a goal of winning the title within three years. "I also have a contract period of 2+1 years, so I think it would be good if I follow that picture," Kim Min-sung said again, adding, "I will devote myself and sacrifice to win the title of Lotte."
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Tuesday, February 6, 2024
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