Operation Name Designated hitter (DH): Choo Shin-soo’s last mission

The final mission of Choo Shin-soo (42, SSG Landers), who announced his retirement at the end of this season, is the “designated hitter.”

Choo, who returned to the first team’s roster on Tuesday, played designated hitters in all four games. It is not a temporary strategy. “I will not play defense (Choo Shin-soo) if possible. I will focus on designated hitters,” SSG coach Lee Soong-yong said before Choo’s first team registration.퀸알바

Choo’s main position is outfielder. He played 16 seasons in the U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB), and is a veteran of more than 8,100 innings as a right fielder. As a former fastball pitcher at Busan High School, he used strong shoulders when playing defense. In 2010, he ranked first in the MLB’s entire right field with 14 assists. Even after returning to Korea ahead of the 2021 season, he continued to play in right field for a while. However, he has played more and more designated hitters over the years.

Last season, Choo played 74 percent (342 at-bats) of the 462 at-bats for the designated hitter. In December last year, he announced that he would retire as a player after the 2024 season, and prepared for the final season as right fielder Choo Shin-soo, but practical difficulties ensued. He returned to Korea halfway through the spring camp in Taiwan in February due to enteritis, and in the opening game of the regular season, he suffered a fracture due to the finger hit by the checker while running. In early May, he had to leave the team for a long time due to rotator cuff (muscle tendon) injury. He is quite old now that he has passed the age limit. Due to repeated injuries, he felt heavy burden on his defense.

Considering various circumstances, Lee decided to use Choo as the designated hitter. The decision was also based on the belief that Choo will overcome the difficulties of designated hitters better than anyone else. “I tried it as a player, but it’s not easy to be a designated hitter,” Lee said. “I have to keep moving and find my rhythm. Sensitive players sometimes agonize over why the timing of the hit doesn’t match,” he said, stressing that designated hitters are tricky.

Most players want to defend. “If I play as a designated hitter, it will be difficult to maintain the sense of the game,” he said in unison. “Honestly, if I can play in my leg (hamstring), I want to continue playing defense,” said Na Sung-beom of the KIA Tigers. “When I go on defense, I lose distracting thoughts and focus, and I feel like I can improve my sense of hitting.” Lee Ju-hyung of the Kiwoom Heroes, who is playing as a designated hitter due to his hamstring injury, also expressed his difficulty, saying, “I have a lot of distracting thoughts (because I am only in the dugout). When I am out, I keep thinking about scenes that I couldn’t play well.” Choo Shin-soo also has a much better batting performance when playing in right field than when he was a designated hitter. Although he knows this better than anyone else, he understood the team and his situation and accepted his participation as a designated hitter.

When Choo Shin-soo left in May due to injury, manager Lee Soo-yong said, “I must have wanted to show a lot of things for the ‘Last Dance Season’, but I feel heavy.” It remains to be seen whether he will be able to end the game as a designated hitter after recovering from injury. “Designated hitter Choo Shin-soo” is one of the key points that will determine the structure of the SSG lineup.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *