Lee Jung-hoo (24), the key hitter for the Kiwoom Heroes, will undergo surgery and begin rehabilitation for more than three months. literally out of season. Lightning fell on Kiwoom and the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) national team. 

The Kiwoom team announced on the 24th that “Lee Jeong-hoo was diagnosed with damage to the extensor belt of his left ankle as a result of a detailed examination such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and X-rays at CM Hospital and Sejong Sports Orthopedic Surgery.” An extensor belt injury is an injury to the membrane that surrounds the ankle tendon. Suture surgery is required for treatment. Lee Jung-hoo plans to schedule a surgery after an additional checkup on the 25th. The club said, “The rehabilitation treatment period is about 3 months. It may change depending on the speed of the player’s recovery.” 

Lee Jung-hoo started as the third hitter and center fielder against the Lotte Giants at Sajik Stadium in Busan on the 22nd. He led Kiwoom’s attack by recording 3 hits and 1 walk until the 7th inning. However, at the end of the 8th inning, he suddenly gestured towards the dugout after handling Lotte Kim Min-seok’s heavy hit. He was shown limping on his left foot. After talking with the trainer for a while, he was supported and left the arena. 

Kiwoom coach Hong Won-ki said, ahead of the Lotte match the next day (23rd), “Lee Jung-hoo is a player who seldom shows pain. It is a situation where he expressed his injury condition, so I am concerned.” In the end, the command tower’s ominous premonition came true. It is the first time Lee Jung-hoo has been on the operating table since a shoulder injury in November 2018. 

Lee Jung-hoo is currently the number one hitter in the KBO League. In his last two seasons (2021 and 2022), he became the batting king in a row, and in the 2022 season, he ranked first in batting average, hits, RBIs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, and even won MVP (Most Valuable Player) in the regular season. He ranks first in all-time batting average (0.340) and 

led the team’s offense this season as well. Until May, it was sluggish due to the aftermath of the batting stance correction, but after June, it returned to its original form. Kiwoom, which once fell to ninth place, rebounded by ranking third among 10 clubs in winning percentage (0.609) during the month of June after Lee Jung-hoo’s sense of hitting revived. 

Then Lee Jung-hoo broke away from power. Considering the announced rehabilitation period (3 months), his return in the regular season seems difficult. At the end of the first half, Kiwoom’s strength weakened as veteran setup man Won Jong-hyun and main infielder Lim Ji-yeol were injured. Even Lee Jung-hoo, the pillar of the team’s batting line, left for a long time, making the ranking competition more difficult. 

The Hangzhou AG baseball national team is also in an emergency. Lee Jung-hoo, who was named in the final entry (24 players) announced on the 9th of last month, is also a key player in the national team. The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) formed a national team for this Hangzhou tournament with players under the age of 25 and under the age of 4 years of professional service. Wild cards (three players) were also selected as younger players (Park Se-woong, Choi Won-jun, Koo Chang-mo) than in the previous tournament. 

Due to the direction of the generation change, it was inevitable that it would be weaker than the World Baseball Classic (WBC) held in March. Along with Kim Hye-seong (Kiwoom) and Kang Baek-ho (KT Wiz), Lee Jung-hoo is the player with the most experience in the national team. National team coach Ryu Joong-il’s struggles will inevitably grow. 

Plans to enter the Major League (MLB) are also inevitable. There is no problem in qualifying for the posting system (private competitive bidding) by filling the 7th season. Lee Jung-hoo has already earned 105 points (105 days) by participating in international competitions. Excluding competitions related to military service benefits, 70 points remained even if the insufficient number of registration days were filled in 2018. This season, he filled 113 registration days before his injury.  안전놀이터

However, an injury history could adversely affect an MLB contract. It is known that the evaluation of the MLB club for Lee Jung-hoo has already been completed, but the decrease in durability is another problem. Na Seong-beom (KIA Tigers), who was aiming to advance to the United States with the posting system, also suffered from a knee injury in 2019.

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