“It’s a competition. Watching the juniors do well makes me feel the same way.”
Yoo Kang-nam, the “8 billion catcher,” is the centerpiece of the Lotte Giants. But the younger players are gaining momentum.
On Friday, Yoo went 2-for-3 with a three-run home run and three RBIs in a win over the Samsung Lions in Ulsan.
He signed with Lotte last winter for four years and 8 billion won. This year has been disappointing. Through five games, he’s 2-for-3 with a .657 OPS, a career-low.
His seventh home run of the season the day before was his first in 44 days, since July 22 against the Kiwoom Heroes. It’s a disappointment for Lotte, who were hoping for more than 20 home runs as well as the best defense in the league.
Yoo Kang-nam himself is well aware of the eyes on him. “I feel like I did my part after a long time,” he said. “I was always nervous, so the results were not good. I played with ease, confidence, coolness, and no regrets,” he said.
Yoo Kang-nam’s pride, the ‘golden bullet’, was also cracked. It was a turning point for him after a long absence due to an injury to his inner abdominal muscle.
However, Information Geun, who took advantage of Yoo’s injury and had a hot August, also took advantage of the opportunity. He had one of the best months of his career in August, batting 4-for-33 with 18 RBI in 41 at-bats. He has been recognized early on for his pitcher-adjusted leads and quick pop-up times.
Son Sung-bin has also been praised for his fierce hitting and fiery second base throwing. It’s especially interesting that both players are strong in the area of stealing bases, which is one of Yoo’s weaknesses. “I’m proud to see the juniors doing so well these days,” said Yoo, adding, “I’m determined to show a different side in the future.”토토사이트
When we met on the 6th, he said, “Of course, Yoo Kang-nam should be the starter,” but he also said, “If things don’t go well, we can always use Lee Jung-geun or Son Sung-bin.” He was proud of his teammates.
“When Yoo Kang-nam was injured, they did a good job, and they are always ready. Even though Yoo Kang-nam is a free agent, he will learn a lot from the juniors. It’s good for the team.”
In 2017, six years after Kang Min-ho’s departure, Lotte entered a golden age of catchers. Can the synergy of the backstop competition be translated into a team-wide upswing?