Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto Blue Jays) returns to the mound, and Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres) challenges for the presidency. Choi Ji-man (32) and Bae Ji-hwan (24, Pittsburgh Pirates) also stood on a new starting line.
The American Professional Baseball Major League (MLB) regular season kicks off on the 31st (Korean time). Korean big leaguers are also taking on new challenges. Ryu Hyun-jin, who has been in the US for 10 years, will also be in his 11th season, although he cannot be named on the opening roster.
Ryu Hyun-jin stopped for a while in June of last year. He had left elbow ligament splicing surgery (Tommy John surgery). This is the second time since Incheon Dongsan High School. After taking a break in Korea, Ryu Hyun-jin moved to the United States before the end of the year. Ryu Hyun-jin, who was training individually, recently joined the Toronto spring camp in Dunedin, Florida, USA. He is moving towards the goal of returning in mid-July. He trained lightly for catch and will start pitching in the bullpen in April.
Ryu Hyun-jin’s comeback is important to both Toronto and Ryu Hyun-jin. Ryu Hyun-jin left the Los Angeles Dodgers ahead of the 2020 season and signed a four-year, $80 million (approximately 100 billion won) contract with Toronto, and will become a free agent (FA) after this season. As for Toronto, which is trying to win the World Series, I hope Hyun-Jin Ryu will do his part and even play fall baseball. Ryu Hyun-jin’s future move may also be determined depending on the results of this season. 메이저사이트
Ha-seong Kim returned to his team after the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC). Although his batting average in the exhibition game was only 0.241, he showed stable defensive ability by going back and forth between shortstop and second base.
Last year, Kim Ha-seong took over as the starting shortstop due to Fernando Tatis Jr.’s injury. He showed above-average offense for a shortstop in the league, and was even a finalist for the Gold Glove selection for defense. However, San Diego acquired special shortstop Zander Bogarts. Kim Ha-seong is expected to play in all positions in the infield, including second baseman, third baseman, and shortstop. In his opening game, second baseman is likely to play.
His team, San Diego, is at an important crossroads. We gather a lot of good players such as Manny Machado, Tatis, Bogatz, and Juan Soto and aim for the championship this time. San Diego, which overtook the Dodgers of the same National League West division and ranked 3rd in MLB team salary (310 billion won), also ranked 3rd out of 30 teams in the power rankings by MLB.com. Founded in 1969, San Diego has yet to win the World Series.
Choi Ji-man left the Tampa Bay Rays last winter and moved to Pittsburgh. Choi Ji-man is Pittsburgh’s fifth team (LA Angels-New York Yankees-Milwaukee-Tampa Bay-Pittsburgh), and Pittsburgh’s fifth Korean big leaguer (Park Chan-ho, Kang Jeong-ho, Park Hyo-joon, Bae Ji-hwan, Choi Ji-man).
Choi Ji-man, who underwent surgery to remove bone fragments in his elbow, could not join the WBC team. However, his physical condition is not bad. In the last exhibition game on the 29th, against the Minnesota Twins, he came out as a first baseman and scored 1 hit and 1 RBI in 2 at-bats. His final performance was a batting average of 0.278, 1 home run and 7 RBI. As he neared the end of his exhibition game, his strong point, his pioneering vision, also improved.
MLB.com predicted Choi Ji-man as the starting first baseman for the opening game. However, as in Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh is likely to apply a platoon that is used depending on the type of starting pitcher. Pittsburgh signed right-handed hitter Carlos Santana to a one-year contract. As the shift defense is restricted from this season, the possibility of an increase in the batting average of only Choi, who is good at pulling, is predicted.
Bae Ji-hwan (24) will be in the opening game for the first time since advancing to the United States in 2018. Bae Ji-hwan fulfilled his dream of making his big league debut last year, appearing in 10 games. Bae Ji-hwan played multiple positions in and out of the field in his demonstration game. He is showing competitiveness as a utility player, a trend in MLB these days.
Bae Ji-hwan has another weapon. he’s quick on his feet Bae Ji-hwan stole three bases despite playing fewer games last year. He also stole 4 bases in an exhibition game this year. Starting this year, MLB increased the length and width of the base from 15 inches (38.1 cm) to 18 inches (45.7 cm). He also limited the number of pitcher checks. His exhibition game stolen base attempts and success rate both increased. It is a favorable change for Bae Ji-hwan.