Bae Ji-hwan, Choi Ji-man, Kim Ha-seong, Ryu Hyun-jin,
Korean players on the Major League (MLB) stage of the US professional baseball are taking on the challenge in the 2023 season with their own challenges. The 2023 MLB season begins on the 31st.
Bae Ji-hwan (24), infielder of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is highly likely to be named on the 26-man roster for this season’s opening game. Bae Ji-hwan, who signed a contract with the Pirates in 2018, debuted in the big leagues in September last year after playing in the minor leagues under the Pirates. He looks beyond the starting lineup this season.
Bae Ji-hwan, who completed all of the team’s spring camp schedule, recorded a batting average of 0.234 (11 hits in 47 at-bats), 2 RBIs, and 4 stolen bases in the demonstration game, leaving some regrets in batting. However, he was recognized for his value as a main force (走力) who utilized his quick feet and as a utility player who went back and forth between the infield and outfield. MLB.com and others reported on the 29th that “Utility resource Bae Ji-hwan, who can be responsible for multiple defensive positions, will be included in the opening roster.” He needs to put his multi-defense skills at the forefront and improve his hitting ability to become a starting pitcher. 스포츠토토
Choi Ji-man (32), who eats rice with Bae Ji-hwan, took off the Tampa Bay Rays uniform he had worn for about five years after last season. He is in a somewhat awkward situation with the team, such as failing to agree on an annual salary agreement with the Pirates at the Salary Adjustment Committee and losing, and being blocked from participating in the 2023 WBC (World Baseball Classic) due to a history of elbow surgery. Choi Ji-man, who becomes a free agent (FA) after the season, must raise his ransom by playing an active part in the offense and defense as the team’s central hitter and first baseman.
Kim Ha-seong (28, San Diego Padres), who established himself as a starting pitcher last season, will start as a second baseman, not a shortstop, this season. This is because his defensive position changed when the Padres acquired All-Star shortstop Sander Bohartz (31). Kim Ha-seong, whose defense is already top-notch in the league, such as being nominated for the Gold Glove, needs to show off a hotter bat. After hitting three home runs in the WBC, he had a batting average of 0.241 (7 hits in 29 at-bats) and 4 RBIs in demonstration games after returning.
Left-handed pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto Blue Jays), who finished the 2022 season after undergoing left elbow ligament joint surgery in June of last year, is rehabilitating with the goal of returning in July. It is expected that his stay in the MLB will be determined by how healthy he is after returning to the free agent market after this season.