Out of contention, second-place finish, hamstring injury, first home run back… Will the forgotten left-handed slugger return?
KIA Tigers big league prospect Kim Seok-hwan is back on track with a home run.
Kim started the season with the first team, but was sent down to the Futures team without getting a single at-bat. He lost out in the outfield competition. He failed to win a spot even with Na Sung-beom out with an injury. Ko Jong-wook, Lee Chang-jin, Lee Woo-seong, Kim Ho-ryung, and Socrates Brito made the outfield roster.
The competition for the first base position was also fierce, with transfers Byun Woo-hyuk and Hwang Dae-in. His performance in the exhibition games was a setback. After being hailed as the next Lee Seung-yeop last year, he only managed a 1.1 percent batting average. He was one of the best hitters in the Futures League, but once he got to the first team, he couldn’t hit the pitcher’s hardballs. This year, he didn’t get a chance at all.
He needed to prove himself in the second team to get his chance back, but a hamstring injury kept him out of the lineup. He was out for a month. He rehabbed and returned to the Futures last weekend against Hanwha. In her first two games, she went 0-for-3.
On the 21st, he broke out, going 3-for-4 in right field with two doubles (one home run), one walk, one RBI, and one run scored. In his first at-bat in the second inning, he hit a 115-meter home run off Hanwha’s Park Yoon-chul. In the fourth inning, he led off with a shot to right-center field for a multi-hit game. It’s back to the drawing board. He’ll have to prove himself with the Futures to earn a call-up.
Kim’s situation with the first team is not easy. There are no spots in the outfield or infield. In the outfield, Go Jong-wook and Lee Woo-seong are doing their job. In addition, Na Sung-beom is expected to return from injury in early June. Choi Won-jun, who is on the verge of being transferred, is also likely to make the 13-man roster. The current first-team outfielders aren’t guaranteed a spot either.
The same goes for first base. Hwang Dae-in is the starter and Byun Woo-hyuk is the backup. Byun also plays first base occasionally. Byun can also play third base, but he’ll be the backup at first base once the injured Kim Do-young returns. The designated hitter spot is held firmly by Choi Hyung-woo, a fiery number four hitter who has been performing at his best 메이저놀이터.
In the end, the only way to get a chance is if one of the first teamers tires or gets injured. Furthermore, it would require the batting to be at the level of the Future Bombers. In the end, you just have to do your best and wait for your time. You have to be ready to be called up at any time. One wonders if the left-handed slugger will be given a chance.
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