Lee said goodbye, and ‘his challenge’ began.
Kiwoom Heroes outfielder Lee Jung-hoo, who is set to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) after this season, thanked the fans for their support by appearing as a substitute in the team’s final home game.
Lee came in as a pinch-hitter for the final regular season game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the Samsung Lions at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Tuesday. With the score tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Lim Ji-yeol hit a two-run double with one out, and Kiwoom immediately called up Park Soo-jong to bat.
The dugout erupted in cheers as Lee appeared on the field in full gear. After being sidelined for more than two months following an injury, he took off his helmet and greeted the Kiwoom fans at first base and the Samsung fans at third base.
Facing Kim Tae-hoon, who coincidentally played for Kiwoom, Lee showed his determination to get a hit as he battled tenaciously. He was so focused that he cut six pitches after a full count. Although the result was a grounder to the shortstop, the fans cheered Lee’s challenge with generous applause. Some fans were even moved to tears.
Lee has been recognized for his outstanding potential since his rookie year, and he has been a standout since 2017, his rookie year. He had a batting average of more than 3% every year until this year, and last year he showed off his long ball power by hitting 20 home runs for the first time in his career.
Lee’s presence has also been felt in international competitions, as he has played in every international tournament from the 2017 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) to the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March. As a result, Lee is no longer just the son of LG coach Lee Jong-beom or the grandson of the wind, but the first Lee Jung-hoo.
Having already proven himself in the KBO, Lee set his sights on a bigger stage. In December of last year, Lee expressed his desire to challenge the Major League Baseball through the posting system after the 2023 season, and after internal discussions, Kiwoom decided in early January to respect and support the player’s will and desire. The club also decided to help and support where it could.
Following the WBC, Lee seemed to be on a roll through the regular season, but he suffered an unexpected injury shortly after the start of the second half. Starting at third base and playing center field, Lee felt something wrong while fielding in the bottom of the eighth inning and was immediately rushed to the outfield by the team trainer. Lee had difficulty walking on his own, so he was assisted to the dugout.
The player, 카지노 the team, and the fans all hoped it wasn’t a serious injury, but after being examined at two hospitals, Lee was diagnosed with an extensor ligament injury in his left ankle. The ligament is a damaged membrane that wraps around the ankle tendon and requires suture surgery to repair. The rehabilitation period is expected to last around three months, according to the club. It was difficult for him to play the rest of the season, let alone compete at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.
After the successful surgery, Lee dedicated himself to rehabilitation, and his recovery went smoothly. He was determined to play in front of his home fans before traveling to the United States. After accompanying the first team since the end of last month, Lee was added to the roster on the last three days and was able to bat and field in the final home game, just as he wanted. Although he won’t be able to play against Gwangju KIA on the 11th and Incheon SSG on the 13th because he’s not 100%, Lee plans to stay with the team until the final game.
MLB teams are already showing interest in Lee, with San Francisco Giants general manager Pete Putilla personally visiting the Gocheok SkyDome. For teams looking to bolster their outfield, Lee is said to be attractive enough. It is expected that many fans will be interested in his new challenge in the United States this winter.
Meanwhile, Kiwoom won its final home game of the season with a 5-3 victory over Samsung, extending its winning streak to three games and improving its record to 58-3-81 (0.417). They also knocked Hanwha, who have lost six straight, to the bottom of the table and moved up to ninth place.