At the start of the 2023 regular season, not many people expected Kim Jae-ho (38-Dusan Bears) to be a big name. Of course, he was a household name. As a member of the Doosan Dynasty, fans called him “Cheon-yu” (genius shortstop).

Even geniuses can’t escape the years. When he joined Doosan in 2004, Kim Jae-ho was already 20 years old. His batting average had dropped to the low 20s over the past two years due to slumps and injuries. When his friend Oh Jae-won retired last year, he hinted at his own retirement, saying, “I’m going soon.” Kim Jae-ho’s contract with Doosan was set to expire in 2023.

It was a season of retirement. Both Kim Jae-ho and Doosan needed replacements. Younger infielders like Ahn Jae-seok and Lee Yoo-chan were given a chance to play at the beginning of the season, but they failed to make a mark.

Just when you thought the end was in sight, Kim Jae-ho’s performance has turned around. He’s batting .301 with a .402 on-base percentage this season, and while he’s had fewer at-bats, his batting average has risen to .333 (20 hits in 60 at-bats) since June. His defense at shortstop, which was shaky at the beginning of the season, has also stabilized, and the Doosan infield is protecting its winning streak with a no-hit streak.

“At the beginning of the season, I was competing with younger juniors, and I wasn’t guaranteed a starting spot, so it was harder to play than I thought. I’m the type of player who needs to play consistently to be in good shape, but I lost a lot of confidence because I had to produce results in fewer chances.” “By playing a lot of games in the second team, I redefined my batting and regained my confidence. Since then, my performance in the first team has also been improving.”

Kim Jae-ho has been dealing with the after-effects of his left shoulder injury since a collision while fielding in 2017. He said, “I spent two years trying to figure out how to exercise without pain because the injury often worsened. The ligaments and cartilage in my shoulder were all torn, broken, and not working properly. Even with rehabilitation, I was in pain,” he says. “I was so focused on how to avoid pain that I changed my hitting timing and mechanics. That led to a slump,” he recalls.토토사이트

However, there was an exit from the dead end. “I thought, ‘If I don’t make it this year, I’ll retire,’ so I increased my weight training, which I hadn’t done before. I thought I would fill (the injury) with muscle, and (my shoulder) got better,” he explained.

Now that he’s healthy, Kim Jae-ho is playing with no regrets. It would be a shame to end a season that is finally back on track. “It’s not like I can say I want to play more, the club has to offer me a contract,” he said, “I’ll just do my best for the game in front of me.”

“Until last year, I wasn’t very good. My confidence dropped, and I became smaller, so I thought I would feel sorry for my juniors if I played anymore,” he confessed. “For the past two years, I’ve been looking for answers amidst injuries. This year, I started to see results, and I started to enjoy baseball again. I’m just so happy with that right now. I realized that I really loved baseball again.”

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