“People around me keep asking if it wasn’t hard, but it really wasn’t hard at all.”
2022 was also meaningful for Kiwoom catcher Lee Ji-young (37). It was a season spent as a full-time main catcher after ending the division of labor with Park Dong-won (LG). In 137 games, his batting average was 0.267, 2 homers, 37 RBIs, 38 runs, OPS 0.634. It was his most individual appearance in a single season, exceeding 129 games in 2016, when he was at Samsung.
He played 15 games in the postseason alone. Excluding spring camp practice games and exhibition games, he played a total of 152 games. Last year, among the catchers in the KBO League, he was the busiest and fiercest. Although he did not become the final winner, he exceeded the annual salary of 500 million won ahead of the preliminary free agent season.
Eventually, in March, he was also selected for the WBC national team. He was highly praised for his league-top defense and ability to keep runners in check. His clutch ability isn’t bad either. Yang Eui-ji (Doosan)’s backup is the highest ever. Lee Ji-young, who recently met at Kiwoom Spring Camp at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, said, “I still don’t feel like the national team. First of all, you have to go and get a lot of balls from the pitchers.”
Lee Ji-young is a style that receives a lot of balls from pitchers in spring camp. Only then can he grasp the condition and characteristics of the pitcher and assemble the game accordingly. If he shows his contribution in the national team, he is expected to naturally increase his value as a free agent. After Lee Taek-geun, he could become the second player ever to sign two FA contracts with Kiwoom.
Lee Ji-young said, “Thank you for thinking well in the team. It seems that there is no intention to take good care of the young players. I won’t consider myself a free agent until the end of the season as a player on this team. To think of free agency, it is still far away.”
“Like all teams, I want to win. Our team strength has also been strengthened. Even last year, no one predicted the round of 5. You have to open the lid to know. Since I strengthened my strength, I think I will be able to achieve better results than last year.”
This season does not change the role from previous years. Lee Ji-young said, “I’m not going to hit a home run, and the role the team can play is to connect chances at bat. Of course, I want to do better than last year. On defense, my goal is to hit 1,000 innings.” Last year, he was second in the league with 994.2 innings.
Last year’s fall in baseball remains the best fall of his life for Lee Ji-young, except for the runner-up finish. “It was fun. At Samsung, I played half and half with coach Jin Gap-yong (KIA chief). He played a lot of fall baseball, but it was the first time he had played full-time. It was a valuable experience.”
It really wasn’t hard. Lee Ji-young said, “People say it wasn’t difficult in the postseason, but it was really good. It was fun, and I had fun doing it. It was the first time I had run that much while playing baseball. 2022 was a happy season.” 메이저사이트
If Kiwoom wins the Korean Series this year, it will be remembered as a happier season. It’s not an easy goal, but morale is on the rise internally. Lee Ji-young said, “I want my juniors to enjoy the moment when they shed tears of joy and sadness at the end of 144 games, saying that they had suffered.”