Kiwoom Heroes Lee Jeong-hoo (25) shared his thoughts ahead of his last home game before advancing to the Major League.
Lee Jeong-hoo is scheduled to appear as a pinch hitter in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ game against the Samsung Lions held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the 10th. Manager Hong Won-ki said, “Lee Jung-hoo will be a pinch hitter today and will also play defense for one inning. Although his physical condition is concerning, he says he is fine. I think starting as a starter will be a burden, so I will go out in the 8th inning regardless of the game situation. He is not yet 100% fit. It is true that the rehabilitation process has progressed a lot, but I would like to say that today’s performance is because it is a special day. “I think it will be difficult for him to play the remaining games,” he said.
Lee Jeong-hoo, who played 85 games this season with a batting average of .319 li (105 hits in 329 at-bats), 6 home runs, 45 RBIs, and an OPS of .863, is set to advance to the major leagues after the end of the season. He was injured against Lotte on July 22 and has not fully recovered yet, but decided to play in the last home game of the season to show fans he can play.굿모닝토토
In an interview before the game, Lee Jeong-hoo said, “I was very nervous since last night. He seems more nervous than before his first game in the first team and has been very excited since last night. Although he has hit a couple of free bats, he has not yet completed his rehabilitation process. “It’s difficult to say 100% because I’m skipping all that and going to the game.” He continued, “There is no problem with running. There is no pain at all. “It seems like his rehabilitation went well,” he added.
Before the last home game of the season, Lee Jung-hoo greeted the fans at a fan signing event for the last time. Lee Jung-hoo, who said, “All the fans gave me their support one by one,” added, “It touched my heart that the fans said, ‘I will support you even when I go,’ ‘Please don’t forget,’ and ‘I will go to America to cheer you on.’ I felt strange. “There are still away games left, and I plan to work hard with my teammates until the end.”
In the United States, interest in Lee Jeong-hoo is growing hotter. It is said that this year’s major league free agent market, which begins this coming winter, does not have many special stars except for the biggest player, Shohei Ohtani (Angels). That is why expectations for Lee Jeong-hoo are even higher.
Lee Jeong-hoo said, “There are a lot of articles coming out, but I’m not paying much attention to them. This is a problem that the agent will take care of. They are telling us how to prepare in the U.S., and once the season is over, all we have to do is set a schedule and prepare. “I’m not worried about that at all right now and am just focusing on playing well for the rest of the season.”
When asked which major league club he would like to join, Lee Jeong-hoo said, “Actually, I don’t know much about major league clubs. Everyone knows only about the Dodgers and Yankees. I guess I’ll find out once I start the posting process. “I think the agent will take care of it.” Regarding San Diego, where Kim Ha-seong, who played with him at Kiwoom, is active, he said, “(Kim) Ha-seong only has one year left, so I don’t know. Also, since trade is active in the major leagues, if Ha-seong Lee Hyeong’s value increases, he could be traded. “I don’t know what will happen to him,” he said with a laugh.
Lee Jeong-hoo said, “I think it will be important for me to adapt quickly and integrate well into the major league.” He added, “I think it is natural to work hard and do well. “Just as Ha Seong-hyung has achieved good results and I can take on the challenge, I will show a good performance and do my best to help my juniors reach the major leagues,” he said.