Ha Joo-seok (29-Hanwha Eagles) was suspended for 70 games by the KBO after being caught driving under the influence. His salary was cut in half and he couldn’t play in the reserve team, let alone the second team. Now, it’s time for his comeback.
“He hasn’t played a game, so after his 70-game suspension is lifted, he’ll have to play in the Futures (second team) league,” Hanwha coach Choi Won-ho said before the team’s match against KT Wiz at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on Sunday. “We’ll have to hear how (his condition) is after the game. I think he will need some time.”
Hanwha’s victory on the 27th was its fifth straight win in 1005 days. The mood has definitely improved recently. However, they have yet to resolve their shortstop woes.
With Lee Do-yoon (27), 메이저놀이터 Park Jung-hyun (22), and Ha Joo-seok’s absence, the team has rotated through veteran Oh Sun-jin (34), who was acquired last year, but has yet to find a card that is 100% satisfactory.
Shortstop is a position where defense is more important than any other. Choi Won-ho said, “Ha Joo-seok’s shortstop ability is the best in the KBO. There’s no denying that,” Choi said, “and there’s no reason not to let him play when the conditions are right.”
Choi, who was unexpectedly named manager last month, traveled to the Seosan second-team camp to meet with Ha. “I told him to prepare well,” Choi said. “What can he say, he’s been training with the reserve team.”
He knew it wasn’t against the rules to play for the reserve team, but he thought about public opinion. It was painful to lose the feeling of playing, but I only trained. I only did live batting and didn’t play in any games after the KBO suspension.
Therefore, it will take time. “If you expect him to hit, he needs more time,” Choi said, “but he’s better at defense than hitting. His defense will be back sooner than you think. Eight months is a long time for batting. He won’t be able to keep up with fastballs easily, but if we use him more defensively, he might be able to (return) sooner rather than later.”
He wants to get him back as soon as possible. “I’ll have to talk to the club, but if I’m ready and they’re okay with it, I’ll play,” he said, “but if one or the other doesn’t work out, I won’t play.”
The team is looking forward to finishing the first half on a good note. With a five-game winning streak, Hanwha, with 28 wins, 37 losses and four draws, closed the gap on seventh-place KT Wiz to 1.5 games. They have also closed the gap to the fifth-place Doosan Bears to four games.
After the 13th game next month, the team will go 메이저놀이터 주소 through the All-Star break until the 20th. If they want to make a leap to the top of the standings in the second half, they need to play their hearts out and narrow their win-loss margin as much as possible before then.
“If the weather is good and we continue to play (the Futures League), it’s possible,” Choi said, “but there’s news of rain. If we can’t play, it will be even later. I’ll listen to (second team coach) Kim Sung-gap and decide. It’s the same as if I didn’t see him play.”