A hot battle between Kim Ji-chan and Ryu Ji-hyuk, who have been on ‘third base’ since the first real game of the Il Camp, to compete for the main second baseman?

Samsung Lions infielder Kim Ji-chan flew to “third base” from the first real game of the Japanese spring camp. With Samsung coach Park Jin-man planning Ryu Ji-hyuk as a strong candidate for the main second baseman in the 2024 season, attention is focusing on whether Kim Ji-chan will be impressed again after erasing defense anxiety.노래방알바

Samsung had its first practice game against the Chunichi Dragons at Akama Ball Park in Okinawa, Japan, on Feb. 11, and suffered a crushing 4-10 defeat.

On the Samsung mound, which left a disappointment with 10 runs, Park Kwon-hoo, a second-year pitcher who joined Samsung with the 18th overall pick in the second round in the 2023 rookie draft, shone well.

Park took the mound in the fourth inning when his team was losing 2-8 and grounded the first batter to the first base. He then gave up a walk to the follow-up batter, but Park did not send out an additional runner. Park treated the follow-up batter as a catcher’s foul fly ball, and caught the last out count as a fly ball to center field.

Park caught the leadoff hitter with a fly ball to the left field in the fifth inning, and consecutively raised the out count with a fly ball to the left field and a ground ball to the second base. After finishing the inning with a clean three-out, Park passed the ball to Kim Seo-joon in the sixth inning and finished the game.

“It was my first real game at the spring camp, but I pitched without being aware of it because it was a baseball that I played every day. The outcome of today’s pitch was good, but the process was not good. I gave up a walk from the first batter, and my pitching balance was not good. I will prepare well to satisfy both the process and the result in the next game,” Park said through his team.

Kim Ji-chan stood out the most in the team’s batting lineup on the day. Starting as the first batter and second baseman, Kim Ji-chan had two hits and one walk in two at-bats, displaying robust multi-hit performance. Kim Ji-chan, who was the leadoff hitter in the first inning, hit a hit to the right field and got on base from his first at-bat. At his second at-bat in the third inning, Kim completed multi-hit after two at-bats by hitting a double that separates the right-center gap, and reached base with a walk at his third at-bat in the fourth inning.

After the game, Kim Ji-chan said, “The hitting coach ordered me to take an aggressive swing from the first pitch of the game. He swung aggressively in his first at-bat, but in his second and third at-bats, he watched a lot of balls because his opponent’s speed and control were shaky. I think he made the best choice because the opponent’s pitcher is shaky. I think it is important to read the flow of the game and play baseball depending on the situation.”

Kim played the fewest games (99 games) since his debut in the first division in the 2023 season. He suffered from a hamstring injury in the middle of the season along with chronic anxiety over throwing. Kim made 16 mistakes in the 2023 season, while stealing 13 steals in the season, the fewest number since his debut.

Coach Park Jin-man has revealed his intention to envision not only Kim Ji-chan but also Ryu Ji-hyuk as one of the leading candidates for the position of second baseman in the 2024 season. If new foreign hitter David McKinnon serves as defense for the third baseman, veteran Oh Jae-il will serve as first baseman naturally. It is highly likely that Lee Jae-hyun, who is recovering his shoulder, will play shortstop. If so, there could be a picture in which Ryu Ji-hyuk and Kim Ji-chan will face off for the position of second baseman.

As seen in the first actual game of the camp, Kim clearly has his own strength in batting. As long as there is no aftermath of a hamstring injury, Kim is the right style for “running baseball” tablesets that will follow changes such as expansion of base, pitch clock, and restriction of check balls in the 2024 season.

However, Kim Ji-chan’s chronic throwing anxiety is holding him back. Ryu Ji-hyuk’s advantage in terms of infield defense ability alone. Coach Park Jin-man, a former shortstop who cares most about stabilizing infield defense, has no choice but to deepen his worries. I wonder if Kim Ji-chan will clean up his throwing anxiety during the rest of the camp and complicate coach Park’s head again.

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