Kiwoom Heroes’ Lee Jung-hoo (25) is on the operating table. It’s a big blow for Kiwoom, which is still in the hunt for a top-five finish in the second half of the season, as well as for the national baseball team ahead of the Hangzhou Asian Games.
“After undergoing a detailed examination including MRI and X-ray at CM Hospital and Sejong Sports Orthopaedic Surgery, I was diagnosed with an extensor ligament injury in my left ankle,” Ki said on the 24th.
The ligament is a damaged membrane that wraps around the ankle tendon and requires suture surgery to repair.
Lee will undergo further tests tomorrow (25th) to determine the date of the surgery.
“The rehabilitation period after surgery is expected to take about three months, which may change depending on the speed of his recovery,” Keum said.
Lee started at third base against the Lotte Giants at Sajik Baseball Stadium on 22 April and was replaced in the bottom of the eighth inning after feeling pain in his left ankle while fielding.
Even if there was discomfort, Lee had never voluntarily signalled for a substitution in the dugout before, but this day was different, and he was worried about a major injury.
Kiwoom coach Hong Won-ki also expressed his concern, saying, “He’s a player who doesn’t show any emotion, so I was worried.”
A medical examination revealed that the injury was such that surgery was required. The possibility of a season-ending injury grew.
Lee was named the regular season MVP last year after dominating the league with a .349 batting average, 23 home runs, 113 RBIs and a .996 OPS. Expectations for his performance were higher than ever, especially with his club agreeing to allow him to try out for the major leagues after this season.
However, after the start of the 2023 season, he fell into a severe hitting slump, batting just .218 (19-for-87) with three home runs through April. Ki had a tough time as well, plummeting to the bottom of the standings.
Luckily, Lee got back on track, raising his average to .266 in May and hitting a perfect three-for-three in June. He finished the first half of the season with a .312 batting average, six home runs, 44 RBIs, six doubles, and an OPS of .848.
His performance continued in the second half. In his first game of the second half, on the 21st, he went 1-for-2 with a double and a walk against Lotte, and the next day he went 3-for-3 with a home run, an RBI, and a walk.
But in the midst of this peak hitting, he was hit with an injury setback.
The injury was particularly devastating for Lee, who was preparing to make the big leagues through the Major League Baseball posting system after the season ended.
Kiwoom’s season also took a turn for the worse. With 40 wins, 2 draws, and 47 losses on the season, they are eighth in the league. Foreign batsman Dawson has been performing well since joining the team, but without him, the batting line-up lacks cohesion and firepower.메이저놀이터
South Korean baseball is also in crisis. Led by coach Ryu Jung-il, the national baseball team is aiming for gold at the Asian Games, and Lee is a key member of the squad.
He had already earned his sixth cap and was being considered for the captaincy. In his previous five international tournaments, Lee batted .333 (35 for 105), and at the recent WBC, he hit .429 with five RBIs.
He will be missed. Ryu Jung-il Hoedo