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'Guam 1st Camp is over'

Lotte held its first spring camp from February 1 to 20 at the Dededo Sports Complex Baseball Stadium in Guam. Under the leadership of manager Kim Tae-hyung, a total of 63 people, including 13 coaching staff, 20 pitchers, four catchers, 12 infielders and seven outfielders, sweated.

Coach Kim Tae-hyung said, "The entire team has built up well, including technical parts," adding, "We will complete our power plan through the second spring camp and play in the exhibition game."

Joo Hyung-kwang, the main pitching coach of Lotte's first division, said, "The existing veteran players have been preparing well," adding, "We will complete preparations for the actual game through the second spring camp."

Lotte's team will move to Okinawa on the 21st. The team will enter the second spring camp focusing on actual games and check its sharpened skills throughout the winter.

In particular, the exchange between Lotte Giants and Chiba Lotte in the first division is the highlight of the Okinawa spring camp. Lotte will hold a joint training session with Chiba Lotte on February 22 at Nishizaki Stadium in Itoman.

They will have an exchange match on the 24th and the 25th. Lotte Giants and Chiba Lotte will continue to exchange regularly from this spring camp in a way that allows their teams to develop each other.

Notably, pitcher Roki Sasaki of Chiba Lotte will start the match on Saturday. Lotte Giants has a chance to face off against the best pitcher in Japanese pro baseball.

He is a fire bowler who throws a maximum speed of 164 kilometers. He even plays folk ball in the late 140 kilometers, and is considered the most promising pitcher among Japanese professional baseball pitchers to advance to the Major League.

The Lotte Giants will play practice games against the Samsung Lions on Feb. 27, the KIA Tigers on Feb. 28, the KT Wiz on March 1, the Hanwha Eagles on March 2 and the KIA Tigers on March 3 after an exchange match with the Chiba Lotte.

Ahead of this season's opening, Lotte will be led by "master" Kim Tae-hyung as the team's 21st head coach. While failing to advance to the postseason for six consecutive years from 2018 to last year, the team has set its sights on "Autumn Baseball" with Kim Tae-hyung for the 2024 season.

Manager Kim Tae-hyung is expected to be a savior who can save Lotte from the lower ranks. Fans are paying keen attention to whether Lotte will be able to display its competitive spirit, which led the team to advance to the Korean Series for seven consecutive years from 2015-2022, and win three championships.

Lotte recruited veteran infielder Kim Min-sung to minimize the gap, although An Chi-hong, who played as the main second baseman since the 2020 season, suffered bleeding as he moved to the Hanwha Eagles.

Meanwhile, Lotte Giants will play the opening game of the exhibition game against SSG Landers at Sajik Baseball Stadium on March 9 after completing the Okinawa spring camp. Through a total of 10 exhibition games, the team will hold a final rehearsal to prepare for the opening game of the regular league.

Lotte's opening game of the 2024 season regular season is an away game. It will hold the opening two consecutive games against its "distribution rival" SSG at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on March 23.

After the opening series, Lotte will move to Gwangju and face off against the KIA Tigers in three consecutive games during the week at Kia Champions Field in Gwangju. On March 29, Lotte will return to its home turf and play three consecutive games against the NC Dinos, its "Nakdong River rival," in its home opener.
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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
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