Lotte Assault Leader Hwang Sung-bin “I was tickled to death”

The Lotte Giants’ charge boss is back. Outfielder Hwang Sung-bin (26) returned to the field for the first time in a month after recovering from an injury.

Hwang Sung-bin started at second base and right field against the LG Twins at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Tuesday. He was diagnosed with a second-degree tear of his left anterior cruciate ligament while attempting to steal a base against the Kiwoom Heroes on March 28. After a four-week diagnosis, Hwang spent about 10 days in Iijima Medical Center in Japan and returned to play in the second team before being added to the first team roster.

LOTTE head coach Larry Sutton said, “Hwang Sung-bin is 100 percent fit, so we started him right away. His rehabilitation process went well, and we look forward to seeing him utilize his strengths to help the team win.” With Hwang’s arrival, Lotte is playing six outfielders. “I don’t want to say it’s a competition. It’s outlined,” Sutton said, adding that he will use all players depending on the situation. Hwang Sung-bin flied out to center field in his first at-bat, but he showed his characteristic persistence by battling Lee Min-ho for 13 pitches.

After his injury, Hwang changed his hairstyle. “I bleached my hair for the first time. Fans said, ‘I look like a nagging grandmother,'” he laughed. “My body was itching (to play). I was disappointed that I could only watch baseball on TV, but I was satisfied that the team played well and won a lot.” “My recovery was faster than I thought. I think it’s because the fans were very worried about me,” he added.

A day ahead of his return, Hwang Sung-bin said goodbye via YouTube. He appeared on a live broadcast with teammate Ahn Kwon-soo. The two are close friends despite being position competitors. Hwang said, “I’m learning a lot from Kwon-soo. During the game, we talked a lot about how we need to play our roles in the team to move up. Even when I went to Japan for treatment, Kwon-soo contacted me a lot.”

The top-selling Lotte jersey this season is rookie Kim Min-seok, who has earned the nickname “Resignation Idol. Hwang Sung-bin says, “I’m not a resignation idol. Young Min-seok is the idol, and I’ve never thought about it that way,” he said. He continued, “I think Minseok will be very popular. Today, Kwon Soo-hyung (No. 1), Min-seok (No. 9), and I (No. 2) were in the batting order, so I told him to do well.” He laughed.

Although he doesn’t consider himself an “idol,” Hwang Sung-bin is loved by Lotte fans. He’s in the top five in jersey sales, and last month, he won the top fan vote on the club’s app and held an autograph session at Sajik Stadium.
Hwang Sung-bin was grateful, saying, “I feel like I can see my hard work on my face.”

Hwang also has a strong desire to give back to his fans. On Children’s Day, he personally signed autographed balls purchased by his fan club and distributed them to fans. “The fan club asked me if I would like to organize an event. I was disappointed that I couldn’t do it myself,” he said, adding, “It wasn’t hard for me to sign, but when I was younger, such gifts were important to me.”

For Hwang Sung-bin, the Jamsil game is a heart-pounding event. This is because Lotte fans cheer for him like they do for Sajik Stadium. 먹튀검증 “My heart beats faster at games like this,” he said. “I come to Jamsil a lot because I’m from Elin (LG+ children’s fan), and I think of Lee Jong-yeol, too. Especially Park Yong-taek, who is like a religion to me. I even greeted him at my resignation. I’m a sungdeok (successful fan),” he laughed.

Despite returning from injury, he has no intention of slowing down. “I’m sure you’re worried about (the injury), but if I think about it, I can’t play my best. I intentionally try to run faster when I’m defending,” he said, adding, “Coach Jeon Jun-ho said, ‘Make sure you slide and don’t get hurt.’ The team was very worried about me and tried to treat me. It’s my turn to repay them. I will prove that the investment (in me) was not wrong.”

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