From the practice hit, bang bang… The humiliated KBO genius hitter, revived in the national team [MD Tucson]
- on Feb 17, 2023
17th (Korean time), Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, USA. Batters of the 메이저놀이터 Korean baseball team were practicing batting ahead of the first practice game against NC. Kang Baek-ho’s condition looked particularly good. The ball thrown by base coach Kim Min-ho was passed over the right fence.
Usually, if you show a sense of pleasure during batting training before the game, there are not a few cases where you are sluggish in actual combat. But on this day, Baekho Kang was different. He started as first baseman at number 7, and at the end of the second inning when the score was 0-0, he coolly caught the ball from first baseman Song Myeong-ki and exploded the preemptive final Woo Joong-wol two-run gun.
On this day, the batters of the national team were unexpectedly good at batting. Coach Lee Kang-cheol’s words, “The beasts have prepared well in their teams,” were true. Among them, Kang Baek-ho’s hitting feeling was particularly good. In the third inning, he struck out looking, but it didn’t seem like the pitch he wanted.
It is true that Kang Baek-ho’s value has been somewhat reduced at this point, as seen in the 7th batting order that day. He struggled with big and small injuries last season, and he had a batting average of 0.245, 6 home runs, 29 RBIs, and 24 runs in 62 games, and an OPS of 0.683. It was a career low after his 2018 season debut. The slump that started from the second half of the 2021 season is combined with injuries and deepened. His annual salary for this season is 209 million won, a 47.3% cut from 550 million won.
Kang Baek-ho is sharpening his sword this winter. There is no more sore spot. He joined spring camp a day later than his teammates due to his salary contract being delayed, but there is no problem. Wake up at 6:00 in the morning, take a whirlpool with hot water, set up a tibet at 7:40, and start regular training at 8:00. He spends the day to the fullest.
For both KT and the national team, Kang Baek-ho’s revival is a very important factor. KT is trying to appoint Kang Baek-ho as the second batter to challenge for the presidency again this year. In the national team, Lee Jung-hoo, Choi Jeong, Park Byeong-ho, Kim Hyun-soo, and Na Seong-beom were pushed to number 7, but they confirmed the hope that they could serve as a primer for the lower lineup. If his batting feel continues to be good, his batting order may rise.
Due to the failure of Choi Ji-man (Pittsburgh Pirates) to join the national team, the first baseman’s resources are reduced. Kang Baek-ho, along with Park Byeong-ho, must play both first base and designated hitter. It is a very important puzzle in the national team’s challenge to the semifinals in 14 years. On this day, Kang Baek-ho’s first base defense had no problems.