Welcome back, Wonjun Choi…”I’ve matured”

It’s all awkward but exciting. Won-jun Choi (26-KIA) is back.

Choi Won-jun was discharged from the Korean Baseball Organization on the 12th. On the 13th, he made a spectacular comeback with four hits and two RBIs against Gochuk Kiwoom.

“Honestly, it doesn’t feel real. I can’t seem 안전놀이터 to get used to it,” he said, adding, “I felt like I had to get up early, and I couldn’t use my cell phone. It was weird to be out and about freely.” He laughed. “I’ve been at Kia longer, and I’ve been at Sangsung for one year and six months, but I’ve gotten very close to my colleagues at Sangsung. I feel like they are my family. It was a little emotional.”

There are some things that have changed through military life. Choi says, “Personality, lifestyle, etc. I feel like I’ve become more thoughtful and mature,” he said. “I used to be active and rambunctious, which wasn’t good, but now I’m a little more serious.” His weight has also changed. In the business world, he was in the 90s. Now, he weighs between 81 and 82 kilograms. “I thought the best baseball I could play was fast and sharp, so I lost weight. Now, even if I want to eat a lot, I can’t hold it in,” he smiles.

“At the beginning of my enlistment, I was low in the ranks and felt like I had to prove myself to be recognized. I pushed myself as usual and lowered my grades,” he said. “Before I was discharged, I tried various things, such as modifying my batting form. I knew I would regret it if I went back to the team like this. I wanted to improve, but it didn’t work out, so I returned to my original form two or three weeks ago.”

Until 2021, when he enlisted, Choi’s main position was in the outfield. This year, he is playing a combination of first base and outfield. Currently, Socrates Brito, Lee Woo-seong, and Ko Jong-wook make up the KIA outfield. Choi Won-jun said, “Due to the team situation, I have to play first base if I want to play a lot of games. (Hwang) Dae-in took my brother’s first base glove,” he said, “I’ve played first base before. It’s been a long time, but my body remembers. The past experience is really valuable.”

“I was happy that my outfielders did well,” he said, “and it made me work harder to prepare for the game. In the professional game, those who are good should play,” he added.

He also wore the Taeguk mark. He earned a wild-card spot on the Korean baseball team for the Hangzhou Asian Games in September. He was one of three outfielders selected. “I didn’t even think about it, but I was so surprised. When I saw the final roster, I thought it was my brother, Choi Won-jun, the Doosan pitcher,” Choi said, “I promised myself to work harder to earn the honor. It’s an honor I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid. I will do my best.”

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