Finding the key to the rebound, the 35-year-old veteran lost his sense, so he packed up again and boarded a plane to the U.S. without time to breathe.
Kim Jae-hwan (35, Doosan Bears) is facing the winter hotter than anyone else. This is because he has spent his career low season since he established himself as a central hitter of Doosan.
Kim Jae-hwan, who received a one-on-one special tutoring at the suggestion of head coach Lee Seung-yeop, showed a slightly different atmosphere from the dark expression he showed throughout this season. This is because I realized and felt a lot by hitting 18,000 balls for nearly a month.
Kim Jae-hwan met with reporters ahead of the 2023 Bears’ Meeting at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on the 25th, saying, “It was a beneficial and good time,” adding, “I also felt good and gained confidence while practicing.” “The director also said it was good, but it was better because I felt sincere,” he said.
While using Jamsil Stadium, the widest in the KBO League, he hit 44 home runs in 2018, making him the third Jamsil home run king since his team seniors Kim Sang-ho (1995) and Tyrone Woods (1998). Since then, he has shot more than 20 home runs despite a downward trend, and he met with the new manager Lee Seung-yeop, who has something in common as the left-handed home run king.
Lee Seung-yeop, who took over as Doosan’s new head coach, who ranked ninth last year, stressed that Kim Jae-hwan must revive in order to “rebuild the royal family,” and finished the season with a batting average of 0.220 10 home runs and 46 RBIs (on-base plus slugging) of 0.674, even though he started at No. 4 and went through a lot of batting order. Although Doosan ranks third in the team’s ERA (3.92), it only ranks ninth in the team’s batting average (0.255) and had to be satisfied with fifth place, with Kim Jae-hwan taking a significant stake. It was a disappointing season as he said, “I felt sorry for myself as well.”
With the end of the season, he set the goal of “strengthening the batting line” as his homework for next season, and for this, the revival of Kim Jae-hwan had to be premised. Coach Lee joined Kim Jae-hwan on a one-on-one basis for special guidance. Kim Jae-hwan said, “I hit seven boxes from the first day of training. My muscle aches have gone for a week. Later, I hit it unconsciously.”
He did not blindly concentrate on batting training.Kim Jae-hwan, who said he had never been alone with the coach for so long throughout his career, had a lot of conversations with Lee. Kim Jae-hwan said, “I was so grateful. “I was treated with honor,” he said. “I think it will be better in the feeling that I practiced in a good way than that I will get better just because I practiced a lot.” I have my own expectations,” he said.
He drew a line on the expression “change in batting form.” Kim Jae-hwan said, “Rather than changing, I felt a lot of things like, ‘I used to practice like this’ and ‘I’ve learned a bad form’,” adding, “The training period was three weeks, but I learned to play for almost a year.” The feeling is also familiar to me. “I have nothing to do but watch the children anyway,” he said, expressing his intention to continue training to maintain his senses.
Then, cautiously, he continued. “I’m actually flying to the United States this evening,” he said in a surprise statement. It is the inactive period of professional baseball from December to mid-January. It is a period for baseball players to relax during the year. However, Kim even returned his break and boarded a plane to the U.S. for training. Initially, the departure schedule was faster, but it was on this day that I delayed it as much as possible to meet with fans. “You will have time to go through trial and error only if you do it quickly,” he explained.
The rest of the season is long and we don’t know what changes will happen in the meantime. Nevertheless, Kim Jae-hwan said, “It’s impossible to be sure, but I feel so good. I shouldn’t say that I will do well in the season, but I feel good. I also have confidence, he said. “I have a lot of time left to say anything definitively. You can’t do the same form in camp. In the meantime, there may be another trial and error or it may get better, so I think it’s more comfortable,” he said.
The team is behind the goal of rebounding. Kim Jae-hwan said, “Doosan is a team that looks at the top no matter what the ranking is. “I think it will be a season where every year will be an opportunity,” he said, expressing his determination to go higher next season.