SSG Landers infielder Choi Jeong left the line due to injury. The competition for the home run king is virtually over.
SSG made changes to the first-team entry ahead of the final regular season match against Kiwoom Heroes of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League held at Incheon SSG Landers Field on the 13th. Outfielder Kang Jin-seong was called up to the first team, and Choi Jeong was left out of the entry list. This is the first time that Choi Jeong has been excluded from the first team entry since the start of this season.안전놀이터
Previously, Choi Jeong was injured while running the bases in an away game against the KIA Tigers held at Gwangju-KIA Champions Field on the 10th. In the top of the 4th inning, when the team was down 0-2, with one out and runners on first and second base, Choi Jeong, who was a runner on second base when Han Yu-seom hit to right, rushed home and gave the team the first run, but after entering the dugout, he felt uncomfortable. felt. In the end, he was replaced by Kim Chan-hyung before the defense in the bottom of the fourth inning.
According to the SSG club, Choi Jeong-eun was diagnosed with a microscopic injury to his left hamstring as a result of a hospital examination. He is not seriously injured, but needs rest rather than playing in the game. Choi Jeong plans to focus on recovery for the time being. He naturally ended the regular season without playing in the Daegu Samsung game on the 14th and the Doosan game on the 16th (Jamsil) and 17th (Incheon).
Choi Jeong, one of the KBO League’s leading home run hitters, hit 29 home runs this season. His career home run count reached 458. At the same time, Choi Jeong approached the record of Doosan Bears coach Lee Seung-yeop (467), who is ranked first in this category, by 9 points. If there are no surprises, it is highly likely that Choi Jeong will rise to first place in the 2024 season. However, as it became difficult to participate in the remaining games, the goal of achieving 30 home runs in 2 years and becoming the home run king in 2021 (35) virtually came to an end.
With the departure of Choi Jeong, who can no longer play due to injury, there is a high possibility that this season’s home run king will go to Noh Si-hwan of the Hanwha Eagles. Noh Si-hwan played in 128 games this season, recording 150 hits in 502 at-bats, a batting average of 0.299, 31 home runs, and 99 RBIs, becoming the only player in the entire league to hit 30 home runs.
Noh Si-hwan, who had been highly anticipated since his first year in the league, seemed to finally reach his potential with double-digit home runs for two consecutive years in 2020 and 2021, but he swallowed his disappointment by hitting only 6 home runs last year.
Noh Si-hwan came back this year with a completely different look. Technical changes such as adjusting the hitting point led to good results. Noh Si-hwan was satisfied with only 2 home runs in April, but he has challenged the competition by steadily producing home runs since May.
In particular, Noh Si-hwan, who was selected for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team, was unable to play for his team for two weeks due to the national team schedule. It was the biggest variable in the competition for the home run title.
Although he might have felt pressured by the attention from fans and the media, the player himself did not have much greed. Noh Si-hwan, who was asked about the home run king when leaving Hangzhou, China on the 28th of last month, said, “I’m not paying attention (to the competition for the home run king) right now, and I haven’t checked the records because the national team is too important.” He added, “If senior Choi Jeong hits a home run, people around him will worry about it anyway.” “Everyone is contacting me,” he joked to reporters.
Contrary to expectations, Choi Jeong was unable to significantly narrow the gap with Noh Si-hwan during the Asian Games. Noh Si-hwan, who returned to his team after the tournament, was silent without a home run in the last two games, but still maintained first place, and due to Choi Jeong’s injury, he ‘reserved’ the home run king even before the final game of the regular season. It doesn’t seem easy to catch up with the remaining players, including 3rd place Hanwha Eagles Chae Eun-seong (23) and 4th place LG Twins Austin Dean (22). Until this year, the most recent player to wear a Hanwha uniform and become the home run king was Kim Tae-gyun in 2008.
Meanwhile, Hanwha, which did not have a game scheduled after the Changwon NC game on the 10th, will rest for three days until the 13th and end the regular season with a three-game home game against the Lotte Giants at Daejeon Hanwha Life Eagles Park starting on the 14th. Considering that Hanwha’s ranking has not yet been determined and that this is the last series to be played at home, it is expected that Hanwha will face Lotte at 100% strength. On the first day of the series, Hyunhee Han and Felix Peña will be on the starting mound.