“This season, Hyung-woo’s seat is a bit… ”

KIA did not make any significant power reinforcement in the 2022-2023 offseason. Still, there are new faces on the mound, and there are positive factors such as Choi Won-joon (June)’s discharge on the other line. However, spring camp is not a stage where only positive circuits can be turned. As a coach, you have to assume the worst-case scenario and prepare plans B-C. 스포츠토토

Perhaps Choi Hyeong-woo’s position this season could be narrowed. On the 8th (hereafter Korean time), coach Kim Jong-guk said at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, USA, “This season, Hyung-woo’s seat is a bit… Seats may be reduced. He has to prepare,” he said.

Choi Hyung-woo went downhill from 2021. At the time, he had the worst season of his career with a batting average of 0.233, 12 home runs, 55 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.729 in 104 games. Last year, he improved with a batting average of 0.264, 14 homers, 71 RBIs, 55 runs and an OPS of 0.788 in 132 games. However, it was difficult to see him as a resurrection.

In 2021, there was a clear cause: eye disease. However, many point out that he is rather unusual in that he was not particularly ill last year. Basically, if Choi Hyung-woo perfectly rebounds this season, coach Kim will not have to worry about becoming a designated hitter.

However, coach Kim thinks that he has to prepare for the age of 40 and the deterioration of his athletic ability. If Choi Won-joon returns and takes a spot in the outfield, there will be a justification for the designated hitter rotation. In the case of Lee Chang-jin, he made a step forward in batting last year and became the starting pitcher. If Choi Won-joon does well until he returns, but he can be unfair if he has to be pushed out of the starting position. The same goes for Kim Seok-hwan and other outfielders.

So, there is a high possibility that coach Kim will no longer entrust Choi Hyung-woo as the full-time designated hitter depending on the situation. There were signs of change, such as leaving left fielder to Hyung-Woo Choi even when he was already in bad shape last season. With the return of Choi Won-joon this year, the atmosphere of the designated hitter rotation can be created in earnest.

Director Kim said, “Of course, if Hyung-woo shows good performances, he will continue to take chances.” Choi Hyeong-woo must also be given one last chance. The last season of the 3-year, 4.7 billion won free agent contract. This is a season in which he can surpass Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop in doubles and RBIs and rise to the top of his career. However, defeating the challenge of his juniors is a more realistic task than overtaking director Lee.

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