Doosan Bears right-hander Lee Young-ha (26) returned to the first team after 294 days.
Lee pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless relief in the bottom of the eighth against the KT Wiz in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on Wednesday, giving up one run on 14 pitches with no walks and four strikeouts. He was in top form with a fastball that topped out at 149km/h and an average velocity of 148km/h, and he mixed in his four-seam slider. Doosan lost 3-13, but the win was a confirmation of Lee’s good form.메이저놀이터
Lee returned to the mound for the first time in 294 days after his start against the SSG Landers in Jamsil on 13 August last year. He had been out of uniform for a while because he was charged with school violence in late August last year.
The bullying charge was cleared. Judge Jeong Jeong-young of the Seoul West District Court Criminal Division 4 acquitted Lee on 31 March of charges of special assault, coercion and blackmail. The court said, “The victim’s statement is not objective and does not match the testimony of the baseball team members. There is no evidence of a crime. The defendant is not guilty.”
Shortly after his acquittal, Doosan signed Lee to a contract worth $120 million a year, and he was registered as an official player the next day and pitched in a Futures League game against the Hanwha Eagles in Icheon. Lee threw one inning with six pitches, striking out one and walking none. His fastball reached a maximum velocity of 149 kilometres and an average velocity of 148 kilometres. These numbers show how far Lee has come in his individual development.
Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop called up Young-ha to the first team earlier than planned. Set-up man Chung Chul-won, 24, was expunged from the first team roster on the second day of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) in the aftermath of a drinking scandal. Lee said he would use Lee Young-ha in the bullpen for now, but that he would be comfortable in his first start.
When Lee took the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Doosan fans in the away section began chanting “Lee Young-ha! Lee Young-ha!” in unison. When Lee struck out the leadoff batter with a slider, the fans erupted in cheers.
Lee continued his good form by getting Ahn Chi-young to fly out to right field. Two batters later, he gave up a single to Kang Hyun-woo to left, but got Jang Jun-won to ground out to first base to end the inning.