Bae Ji-hwan (24, Pittsburgh Pirates), who was not selected to make the baseball team for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, expressed his desire for the Taegeuk mark.
Bae Ji-hwan, who finished the MLB regular season, returned to Korea through Incheon International Airport on the 11th. When asked if he wanted to participate in the Asian Games, he acknowledged the controversy surrounding him in the past, but expressed his desire to play for the national team if the opportunity arises.
According to Yonhap News on the 12th, Bae Ji-hwan said, “I have never played in Korea and I have been criticized a lot in the past, so Korean baseball will be very reluctant. Since it is not something I can control, I will not be able to use the uniform I am currently wearing on the team.” “I want to do my best,” he replied.
Still, he said, “I’m greedy,” and added, “It’s every baseball player’s dream to represent the national team.”
Bae Ji-hwan was summarily indicted on a fine of 2 million won for assaulting his girlfriend in 2017, and was suspended for 30 games by the Major League Baseball (MLB) office in the 2019 season. The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) viewed this as grounds for disqualification from the national team and excluded Bae Ji-hwan from the preliminary list for the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Even though he did not make the national team, Bae Ji-hwan had a meaningful season in the big league this year. Bae Ji-hwan, who began his minor league career in 2018, became a full-time starter in the big league this year, appearing in 111 games and posting a batting average of 0.231 (77 hits in 334 at-bats), 32 RBIs, 54 runs, and 23 stolen bases.
However, it was unfortunate that he had a gap of nearly 6 weeks due to a left ankle sprain in July and was unable to maintain the momentum from the beginning of the season in batting.
Bae Ji-hwan also expressed regret, saying, “My goal was to play a full season, but I couldn’t do that because I got injured,” and added, “I definitely want to play (all games) next year without getting hurt.”
Regarding his 24 stolen bases, the most on the team, he smiled and said, “Still, I think 24 is a lot for a rookie,” and wittily added, “My father is fast. I think it’s because of my DNA.” At the same time, he scolded himself, saying, “I learned that sometimes you have to slow down in baseball because speed alone is not enough to play. Since I can only play once I get out there, I think a lot about hitting well.”
Regarding next season, he said, “It seems like a big task to play consistently like a big league player,” and said, “I really want to stay in the major league and play fall baseball next year.”
When asked to give advice to Jeong-hoo Lee (Kiwoom Heroes), who is about to advance to the major league, he said, “I think I need to learn about baseball since I am qualified to challenge as the best player in Korea.” “I hope there will be more. I hope Jung-hoo hyung gets a good contract soon too.”
He, who is scheduled to marry an ordinary woman in early January next year, expressed his affection and said, “She has a pretty heart and a pretty face. There is nothing lacking in her,” and added, “Although I am still young, I thought, ‘We can live together until I die.'”
Bae Ji-hwan, who made his MLB debut at the end of the season last September and became the ‘26th Korean big leaguer in history,’ was reborn as a full-time starter this year in his second year. This is an encouraging performance that makes us look forward to the future, given that it was actually the first season after five years of minor league experience.
Bae Ji-hwan, who graduated from Gyeongbuk High School, signed a contract with Pittsburgh in 2018 and advanced to Minor League Single A in 2019, Double A in 2021, and Triple A last year. And Bae Ji-hwan, who was promoted to the first team on September 24 of the same year, posted a batting average of 0.333 (11 hits in 33 at-bats), 6 RBIs, and 3 stolen bases in 10 big league games.
Bae Ji-hwan, who has been recognized for his potential, got off to a fresh start in the 2023 season by boarding this year’s opening entry (26 players).레고토토
Bae Ji-hwan, who started the opening game with multiple hits (2 hits in 3 at-bats, 1 walk, 2 runs, 2 stolen bases), set the mood in April by becoming the first MLB player to start with a Korean batter and record a home run with his same teammate Choi Ji-man (currently San Diego). Raised it.
From the end of May, he began to see the effects of correcting his batting posture, and as of June 10, his season batting average reached 0.277 (46 hits in 166 at-bats). On the 17th of the same month, he succeeded in stealing his 20th base of the season (after failing 6 times), becoming the first major leaguer to achieve 20 stolen bases since Choo Shin-soo (SSG Landers) in 2013.
However, this upward trend could not be continued due to injuries and slumps. Starting on June 19, he fell into a batting slump, allowing no hits in 10 consecutive games, and on July 3, he was placed on the injured list (IL) due to a left ankle sprain, ending the first half of the season early.
His first-half performance was .238 (51-for-214) with 2 home runs, 19 RBI, and 20 stolen bases in 76 games.
Bae Ji-hwan, who returned on August 19 after going through rehabilitation, finished the second half of the season smoothly.
Showing off his mobility, he maintained first place on the team in stolen bases and played stable defense at second base and center field. He hit a hit in eight consecutive games from the Milwaukee Brewers game on September 6th to the Washington Nationals game on the 14th, setting a personal record for the longest hitting streak.
His team, Pittsburgh, ended the regular season in 4th place in the National League (NL) Central Division and did not make it to the fall stage.