“When things are going badly, the rookies and younger players can turn things around.”
Doosan Bears manager Lee Seung-yeop wants to test the value of infielder Park Ji-hoon (23) against the KIA Tigers in Jamsil on July 7. Park will start at first base, batting third. It will be his second professional start since October 24, 2021, against the LG Twins in Jamsil (9th outfielder).
Doosan’s starting lineup is Jung Soo-bin (center field)메이저사이트, Kim Jae-ho (shortstop), Park Ji-hoon (first base), Yang Ji (catcher), Jose Rojas (left field), Yang Seok-hwan (designated hitter), Heo Kyung-min (third base), Park Kye-beom (second base), and Cho Su-hyung (right field). The starting pitcher is Choi Won-jun.
He dropped Kim Jae-hwan, who has been struggling at the plate lately, from the starting lineup, giving Park Ji-hoon the job of batting third and defending first base, and giving Yang Seok-hwan, the starting first baseman, the job of designated hitter. With the opposing starter being left-handed Yang Hyun-jong, it was also a move to put more right-handed hitters in the lineup instead of Kim Jae-hwan.
Lee said, “Park Ji-hoon has a good swing. Right now, the players who are starting often are not getting results. When things aren’t going well, the rookies and younger players can turn things around. I’m not sure if he’ll hit well or not, but when a young player comes out, it’s a tough time, but I also think he might do well,” he said, explaining why he gave Park a chance.
Park made his debut on the 6th against Jamsil KIA, coming off the bench to score the team’s only run. Trailing 0-7 in the bottom of the ninth, Park Jun-young singled and stole to put runners on first and second, and Park hit a two-run double to left field to make it 1-7. With the count 1-2, he chose one pitch and hit a five-pitch slider. It wasn’t enough to turn the game around, but thanks to Park Ji-hoon, Doosan avoided a sweep.
Park Ji-hoon of the Doosan Bears ⓒ Doosan Bears
Lee said, “It’s not that (Park) got one hit yesterday, so he’s batting third. There weren’t many players batting third who were consistently good. It means that he needs to hit in front of (Yang) while he’s out there.”
Park graduated from Masan High School and was selected by Doosan with the 49th overall pick in the fifth round of the 2020 Second-Year Player Draft. From the time he was drafted, he was consistently evaluated as having the potential to be a big infielder, but he couldn’t immediately break into the starting infield, so he had to deal with military issues first. He was discharged from the military in June after completing his active duty service and is using this year as a season to build his body. He only played three games for the first team this season.
Lee hoped Park would capitalize on the team’s crunch time. Doosan has recently lost two straight games and is currently in sixth place with a season record of 55 wins, 56 losses and one draw as of July 7. They are now four games behind the fifth-place KIA Tigers, putting them at a disadvantage in the fight for the top five. While the rookie won’t be able to single-handedly lead a massive turnaround, Park hopes he can be the spark that ignites the frozen batting lineup.
“In practice, I felt he was a good enough hitter, and if he shows good form, he might get another chance. Hopefully, I can capitalize on my opportunity today. Yesterday, I saw him follow the ball all the way after the second strike, so I’m looking forward to seeing him in the future,” said Lee, who wants Park to fulfill his potential.