“If Yoo Kang-nam doesn’t work out, anytime”… Lotte dreams of a ‘catcher’s kingdom’

It’s a competition. When I see my juniors doing well, I feel the same way.”

Yoo Kang-nam, the “8 billion catcher,” is the centerpiece of the Lotte Giants. But the younger players are gaining momentum.

On Friday, Yoo went 2-for-3 with a three-run home run and three RBIs in a win over the Samsung Lions in Ulsan.

He signed with Lotte last winter for four years and 8 billion won. This year has been disappointing. Through five games, he’s 2-for-3 with a .657 OPS, a career-low.안전놀이터

His seventh home run of the season the day before was his first in 44 days, since July 22 against the Kiwoom Heroes. It’s a disappointment for Lotte, who were hoping for more than 20 home runs as well as the best defense in the league.

Yoo Kang-nam himself is well aware of the eyes on him. “I feel like I played my role after a long time,” he said. “I was always nervous, so the results were not good. I turned it around with ease, confidence, coolness, and no regrets,” he said, confessing to some of his own struggles.

On the 13th, the KIA-LOTTE game was held at Sajik Stadium in Busan. Barnes, who pitched a scoreless inning in the fifth inning, gives the ball to catcher Shin Jung-geun.
Yoo Kang-nam’s vaunted ‘Geumgang Bulguk’ was also cracked. It was a day that could have been considered a turning point for Yoo after a long absence due to an adductor muscle injury.

However, Information Geun, who took advantage of Yoo’s injury and had a hot August, also took advantage of the opportunity. He had the best month of his career in August, batting 4-for-33 with 18 RBI in 41 at-bats. He has been recognized early on for his pitcher-adjusted leads and quick pop-up times.

Son Sung-bin has also been praised for his fierce hitting and fiery second base throwing. It’s especially interesting that both players are strong in the area of stealing bases, which is one of Yoo’s weaknesses. “I’m proud to see the juniors doing well these days,” Yoo said, adding, “I will show a different side in the future.”

On the 11th, the KIA-LOTTE game was held at Sajik Stadium in Busan. In the first inning, first baseman Son Sung-bin prevents Park Chan-ho from stealing and catches Na Sung-beom’s foul ball to end the inning.

“Of course, Yoo Kang-nam should be the starter,” said Lee Jong-woon, Lotte’s acting head coach, when we met on Saturday, but he also said, “If things don’t go well, we can always use Lee Jung-geun or Son Sung-bin.” He was proud of his team.

“When Yoo Kang-nam was injured, they did a good job, and they are always ready. Even though Yoo Kang-nam is a free agent, he will learn a lot from the juniors. It’s good for the team.”

In 2017, six years after Kang Min-ho’s departure, Lotte entered a golden age of catchers. Can the synergy of the backstop competition be translated into a team-wide upswing?

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