“No, because he’s a free agent. To be treated well (laughs).”
Doosan Bears manager Lee Seung-yeop laughed when asked about a recent report from first baseman Yang Seok-hwan, 32. “I feel like I have a good chance of winning when I hit home runs, so the manager and head coach (Kim Han-soo) are telling me to hit a lot of home runs,” Yang said after his game-winning two-run shot in the eighth inning of a 4-2 win over the Lotte Giants in Ulsan on Feb. 2.
In fact, Doosan is 11-1 in the 12 games Yang has homered in this year. He has 13 home runs on the season, including two against the Gochuk Kiwoom Heroes on March 25. Only twice in those 12 games have they scored three runs or fewer. When Yang ignites the batting lineup with a home run, it quickly leads to a large number of runs, so managers and head coaches naturally put pressure on him to “hit home runs.”
“We lost one game when he hit a home run,” said Lee. You win when you hit a lot of home runs,” Lee said and laughed. “To be treated well, baseball is all about hits, but I think your value will increase if you hit a lot of home runs, so you’ll be more useful to the team. It’s all for the sake of Yang Seok-hwan.” He continued to explain.
Yang will be eligible for free agency for the first time in his career after this season. He was traded from the LG Twins to Doosan ahead of the 2021 season and is looking to write his own success story. In his three seasons with Doosan, Yang hit .264 (310-for-1174) with an OPS of .785, 61 home runs, and 191 RBIs. He led the team in home runs during that time, marking the birth of a new Jamsil powerhouse.
In his quest to hit the free agent jackpot, Seok-hwan Yang has been working hard this year. He proved the sweat was worth it in April, batting .314 (27-for-86) with six home runs and 16 RBIs in 22 games, but it took him a while to find his groove in May, when he slowed down along with the rest of the team. Since June, he’s been hitting the ball over the fence one by one, increasing his value.
Yang is currently fifth in the league in home runs with 10. He is four behind SSG’s Choi Jeong and Hanwha’s Noh Si-hwan, who are tied for first with 19, two behind LG’s Park Dong-won, who is third with 15, and just one behind SSG’s Choi Joo-hwan, who is fourth with 14. If Lee can continue to pile up home runs in the remaining three games of the first half, he will not only help his team win, but also boost his free agent value.
Lee has his hands full in the dugout thanks to Yang, who has been picking up his home run pace lately. This year, Yang has pushed the heart gesture as his trademark, and when he hits a home run, Lee and Yang make a heart with their hands in the dugout and high-five each other.
“Originally, he asked me to do the heart ceremony with him when he hit a home run, so of course I said yes, but after I said that, I didn’t hit a home run for more than two weeks. I said, ‘I’m ready to do it, but when are you going to do it?’ Then I hit a come-from-behind home run recently, and it felt good, so I think I subconsciously made a big deal out of it.” He said they would do the ceremony together anytime, but he expects Yang to keep hitting home runs to help the team win 메이저놀이터추천.