Bae Ji-hwan (24)’s Pittsburgh team lost their main shortstop ten days after the start of the regular season.
Pittsburgh reported the news of O’Neal Cruz (25), who was injured during the game the day before, through a press release on the 11th (Korean time).
Cruise collided with the catcher of the opposing team while digging into the home at third base during an attack in the bottom of the 6th inning of a home game against the Chicago White Sox held at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA on the 10th. In the process, he suffered a serious injury, breaking his left ankle.먹튀검증
The Pittsburgh club predicted that “Cruz, who underwent surgery on the evening of the injury, will take about four months to recover from his broken ankle and resume his baseball-related activities.” This is just an estimate, in reality it may take longer than this. In some cases, there is a possibility that a return may not occur during the season.
Pittsburgh placed Cruz on the 10-day disabled list (IL) after undergoing surgery, and then called up Mark Mathias (29), a utility player from Triple-A in the minor league under the club, to the big league to fill the vacancy. Mathias went 0-for-3 in 3 at-bats as the starting second baseman in a home game against Houston on the 11th. As for the shortstop, Rodolfo Castro (24) started and Bae Ji-hwan was absent.
Major League homepage MLB.com and other US local media predicted that Major League rookie Bae Ji-hwan’s playing time would increase due to Cruz’s departure. This is obviously a good thing for him. However, some predicted that the call-up of competitor Mathias would not only affect Bae Ji-hwan’s appointment, but also that Bae Ji-hwan might have a mental burden due to the ‘competitive relationship’ between the two.
Matias, who is from California, USA and debuted in the major leagues wearing a Milwaukee uniform in 2020, exactly overlaps with Bae Ji-hwan. Both are capable of defending all outfield positions as well as second and third base. Mathias also has first base experience here.
Mathias played a total of 46 games in two seasons with Milwaukee and Texas in the major leagues. In particular, last year, he hit 6 home runs in 30 games, and his slugging percentage was 0.506. He also complied with an on-base percentage of 0.319. He is in the middle of the mountain to Bae Ji-hwan.
The Pittsburgh club recruited Mathias in early March to strengthen the player base and watched his performance with Bae Ji-hwan in spring camp. As a result, Bae Ji-hwan rose to the opening roster and laughed first. But this was not the end of the competition. In the major leagues, players who have not signed long-term contracts through free agents (FA) are actually competing every day. You never know when you will fall behind and disappear from the league.
As of the 11th, Bae Ji-hwan has participated in 8 major league games this season, recording a batting average of 0.250 (7 hits in 28 at-bats), 1 home run, 3 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. He’s not outstanding, but it’s a relatively passable performance for a rookie to achieve. His OPS (on-base percentage and slugging percentage) is also not bad at 0.705.
However, due to Mathias’ call-up to the big leagues, Bae Ji-hwan faced a different situation than he had been relatively comfortable with, managing only his stamina and performance. He even had to overcome the pressure by watching the performance of competitors with exactly overlapping positions. The rivalry between the two has begun to draw attention to whether Bae Ji-hwan will continue the victory he caught at the beginning of the season to the end, or whether Matthias, who has returned to the big leagues, will turn around.
Meanwhile, Choi Ji-man (32), who played as Pittsburgh’s designated hitter No. 5 in the game, hit his first solo home run of the season at the bottom of the second inning, going 4 at bats with 1 hit and 1 RBI. His batting average for the season was 0.087 (2 hits in 23 at-bats). Pittsburgh lost 2-8.