Lotte’s Lee Hak-joo, who was stymied by defense after being traded

Lotte’s Lee Hak-joo (34) saved his team from last place.

Lotte won 10-6 against KIA on March 23 at Sajik Stadium in Busan. Lotte swept a three-game series from Nov. 21 and moved up to ninth place after Hanwha lost 4-8 to LG on the same day. They escaped last place for the first time in nearly a month.

Lee Hak-joo’s two home runs were key. Lee Hak-joo started at shortstop in the No. 9 spot and hit a multi-homer game.

With his team leading 4-2 in the fourth inning, Lee took a two-seam fastball from Kia’s second pitcher, Yoon Jung-hyun, and launched it over the center field fence for a 125-meter solo home run. It was Lee’s first home run of the season.

Lotte’s bats came alive across the board on this day. In the sixth inning, Yoo Kang-nam hit a long home run, and in the seventh, Na Seung-yeop hit a two-run homer in the middle of the inning. In the eighth inning, Lee Hak-joo completed his multi-homer performance with another home run. He took a five-pitch fastball from Kia reliever Kim Min-jae over the right field wall.

With 10 runs, including four home runs, Lotte swept the three-game series against first-place Kia to complete the sweep.

Lee Hak-joo’s performance was the highlight.

Lee Hak-joo’s move to Lotte was an uneventful one. Before the 2022 Korean Series was even over, Samsung admitted to publicly trading Lee Hak-joo. The trade was effectively a parting shot for Lee, who had fallen out of favor with the first team after attitude issues surfaced during the season, including being late to training.

However, it wasn’t until late January that Lee found a new home after the New Year. Lotte, who were in need of a shortstop, were the top candidate for the position and acquired Lee via trade.

It was a difficult transition for Lee, but he never quite settled in. Lee suffered a finger injury while preparing to open his first year with the team and was limited to 91 games that year. After averaging 65 games per season in his two seasons at Samsung in 2020 and 2021, Lee played a bit more in Lotte, but he was never able to establish himself as a starter.

Heading into the 2023 season, his position would be even more limited. Noh Jin-hyuk, who became a free agent after the 2022 season, joined Lotte and solved their shortstop woes. Lee hit .209 in 104 games last year. Instead of playing in the leadoff spot, he 토토사이트 often came off the bench late in games. His hitting was good, but he wasn’t reliable on defense. She often made spectacular defensive plays, but she also made a lot of mistakes, which did not give her a sense of stability. As a result, Lotte’s problems grew, and Lee Hak-joo also faced many trials in his baseball career.

His ambitious preparation for the season seemed to pay off. In the first month of the season, he hit .366 in 16 games. With Lotte’s infield struggles, Lee could have been utilized more.

However, Lee’s early performance was followed by a downward spiral, and on April 22, he was sent to the second team.

Lee didn’t give up. In eight games, he batted .542 with two home runs and nine RBIs, nearly dominating the second team. He returned to the first team on Nov. 11. Even after his return, he didn’t get many hits, and it seemed like his hard work was going to be in vain. However, his hopes were raised when his bat exploded against KIA.

While much attention was focused on Lee’s home run, he continued to emphasize the importance of defense. “My bat has been a little off lately, so I’ve been focusing on my defense a little more and practicing a lot. I felt like I needed to relieve some stress there, so I think I was a little less stressed when I went to the plate.”

Recalling the moment he hit his first home run in the fourth inning, Lee said, “I didn’t know if it was a home run, but I ran hard and it felt good that it went over.” The second time, I knew it was a home run for sure.

“The manager and coach paid a lot of attention to 파워볼실시간 me,” he said, “especially the one-on-one lessons I had with Coach Lim Hoon on hitting, which was very helpful.”

“It didn’t happen in one go, but I think it came out today (in the results) because I kept working hard and concentrating on my batting,” Lee said, adding, “I hope we can continue to get good results in this direction.”

Despite his strong performance, Lee was disappointed with his defense, which was not as detailed as it could have been. In the sixth inning, Kim Min-sung and Lee Hak-joo ran together to catch a foul ball hit by Kia’s Choi Won-joon, but their lines got tangled and they couldn’t catch the ball.

Lee Hak-joo said, “I apologize to (Kim) Min-sung-hyung for playing third base and making the call, and I also apologize to starting pitcher Aaron Wilkerson because of the increased pitch count.”

“I want to be a player who can help pitchers by doing small things,” said Lee, who hopes to showcase a defense that is based on ‘delicacy.

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