Even though the annual salary was cut, the ‘genius hitter’ was not broken. Kang Baek-ho (24, kt Wiz) came back more mature after going through labor last winter.
Kang Baek-ho boasted a good hitting feeling on his first real stage with the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team. On the 17th (Korean time), Kang Baek-ho started as a 7th hitter and 1st baseman in the evaluation match against the NC Dinos held at the Keno Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, USA, and led to an 8-2 victory with 2 hits in 4 at-bats (1 home run) and 2 RBIs. .
He hit a home run in his first at-bat. At the end of the second inning, where the score was 0-0, Kang Baek-ho took a two-run gun from right-hander Song Myeong-ki and took the lead 2-0. In the bottom of the 7th inning with a lead of 7-2, Kang Baek-ho scored a run and a timely double from Park Hae-min in the left-center as the lead batter and scored a hit to the middle right, putting a wedge in an 8-2 victory.
In fact, Kang Baek-ho has not been welcomed since the selection process for the WBC national team. In the aftermath of toe and hamstring injuries his last season, he suffered his worst season since his 2018 debut. He appeared in just 62 games, less than half of his 144 regular season appearances, and had a batting average of 0.245 (58-for-237), an OPS of 0.683, six home runs and 29 RBI. 메이저놀이터
To make matters worse, Kang Baek-ho had a hard time going through labor pains during salary negotiations with kt. Based on last season’s performance, kt offered 290 million won, a 47.3% cut from the previous annual salary of 550 million won. Signed. It was difficult to accept the much larger than expected cut from the start, but Kang Baek-ho made the choice to look far for himself and his team.
Lee Kang-chul, coach of the Korean national baseball team, showed steady faith in Kang Baek-ho, who must have been disturbed in many ways. When a question mark was attached to Kang Baek-ho’s selection, Lee gave support by explaining, “I chose the designated hitter position to strengthen the offense. I decided that the offense would be much better if Kang Baek-ho was designated hitter while using Kim Hyun-soo as the left fielder.”
Coach Lee chose to expand the use of Kang Baek-ho after Choi Ji-man (32, Pittsburgh Pirates), who was expected to be the starting first baseman for this tournament, was dropped from the entry due to his team’s opposition to participation in the tournament. Coach Lee praised Kang Baek-ho’s defensive power while leading kt’s spring camp in the U.S., and that he could be assigned first base with Byeong-ho Park (37, kt). This is the reason why he was able to boldly choose outfielder Choi Ji-hoon (26, SSG Landers) as a replacement for Choi Ji-man.
Kang Baek-ho took the past as a lesson and boarded a plane to the United States, promising to show off on the field again. He said, “(Last year’s sluggishness) I don’t think I was defeated. I don’t think there were any problems with my skills. It seems that it was a year that left me with regret because I lacked my body care. It was a season where I learned a lot from them. I just need to prepare better and do well this year.”
And in the first at-bat with the Taegeuk mark, he fired a flare to revive the ‘genius hitter’. I wonder if Kang Baek-ho, who went through deep growing pains, will return as the best hitter who is cheered and supported by baseball fans.