Now, there is no burden of the first year of FA or the pressure of captaincy. And in order to revive himself, the national hitter and hitting coach who shared the glory of the past MVP came together. Doosan 4th hitter Kim Jae-hwan (35) is trying to recreate the glory of 40 homers in the 2023 season.
Prior to the 2022 season, Kim Jae-hwan hit the jackpot by signing a free agent contract with the original team Doosan for a total of 11.5 billion won over 4 years. However, in the first year, which was expected, he was plagued by controversy over ‘eating and running’ amidst a sluggish performance of 128 games, 23 home runs, 72 RBIs, and an OPS of .800. Due to the prolonged slump, the batting average remained in the early 20% range until August, and from September, it rebounded and achieved 20 home runs for three consecutive years, but the 23 home runs were the second lowest since Kim Jae-hwan took off as the No. 4 hitter for Doosan.
Accordingly, coach Lee Seung-yeop met with Kim Jae-hwan in person and had time to diagnose the problem. Manager Lee, who topped the KBO’s career home runs (467), said, “Last year, the team had 101 home runs. If the fourth hitter had hit 40, it would have gone up to 130. His batting average is also 2.5. In June, he hit about 2/4, so it is lower than the team batting average,” he reprimanded, “It is important to practice a lot, but how you do it is more important. Of course, Coach Goto will do well, but you yourself have to figure out what was wrong.”
The reprimand from the former home run king became an opportunity to awaken the fourth hitter. Kim Jae-hwan, who met on the 2nd at the Blacktown International Sports Park in Sydney, Australia, a spring camp, said, “I think the coach’s wish is my wish.” To be more precise, you have to prepare and put in effort so that you can do it of course.”
For Kim Jae-hwan, the 2023 season is the right time for revival. He handed the captain’s armband to Heo Kyung-min, creating an environment where he could focus only on the game, and reunited with Koji Goto hitting coach who helped him win the 44th home run MVP award in 2018. In addition, it is expected that the burden in the 4th hitter will be reduced by returning to Yang Eui-ji, who is not inferior to the 4th hitter.
Kim Jae-hwan said, “First of all, a lot of things are going in the good direction, so I try to think positively. I will also talk a lot with coach Goto in Australia,” he said. “I want to learn a lot from coach Lee Seung-yeop. I will try to absorb the director’s strengths step by step.”
I did not forget to cheer and encourage the new captain Heo Gyeong-min. Heo Gyeong-min left a message to Kim Jae-hwan last month, saying, “Now I will do the hard work, so please hit a lot of home runs.” Kim Jae-hwan said, “I was grateful that they thought of me. and sturdy He said, “I don’t have any worries because I was originally a good friend. Doosan is not a team where the captain is alone. Since we were originally together as a team, as a veteran, I will help (Heo) Kyung-min a lot.”
Fortunately, there are no major problems with the body condition. Jaehwan Kim underwent an operation to remove a bone fragment in his right elbow in October of last year, and he focused on his rehabilitation during that time. It was a relatively simple surgery to remove the overgrown bone, and Kim Jae-hwan has recovered his condition and is digesting spring camp normally. In the current situation, full-time in the 2023 season is expected to be no problem.
Kim Jae-hwan said, “The manager and coaches are worried about me, but I’m in very good condition compared to that. In fact, he is fine now because he was worse before the surgery,” he said. However, his surgery was really simple. The surgery was done because there was no problem with the spring camp. Right now, only the throwing training is slightly adjusted, but the rest of the training is the same.”
Kim Jae-hwan’s goal this year is for the team to rise to the top along with the personal revival. Doosan has advanced to the Korean Series for seven consecutive years from 2015 to 2021, but the last championship was in 2019. Kim Jae-hwan promised a rebound in the 2023 season with a short and bold determination that “the goal is to win.” 온라인바카라