Why did Kang Baek-ho (24, KT), who won the Golden Glove, the highest honor for each position in the KBO League, in the first baseman category for two consecutive years, suddenly asked manager Lee Kang-cheol to return to the outfield?
KT coach Lee Kang-cheol announced the plan to return to the outfield for first baseman Kang Baek-ho in two home matches against Doosan on the 20th and 21st. Director Lee said, “Kang Baek-ho himself wants a spot in right field, so I think we should send him there after practicing. He is still young, but he cannot be designated hitter. It’s a decision that looked far ahead,” he said, moving first baseman Golden Globe to an outfielder.
Kang Baek-ho, who joined KT with the 2nd overall first pick in the 2018 rookie draft, served as an outfielder for the first two seasons and ran the road to success, but ahead of the 2020 season, he put on a first baseman’s glove at the suggestion of coach Lee Kang-cheol. Unlike now, KT’s greatest weakness at the time was the absence of a clear first baseman. Kang Baek-ho has been active even after transforming into a first baseman, winning the Golden Glove in the first baseman category given to the best first baseman in the KBO League for two consecutive years from the 2020 season.
Time passed and the situation changed again. After KT finished the 2021 season, Kang Baek-ho’s position narrowed as he signed a free agent contract with league representative first baseman Park Byung-ho for a total of 3 billion won over three years. 37-year-old Park Byung-ho’s fitness arrangement Kang Baek-ho also continued to wear first baseman’s gloves, but the command tower did not want the 24-year-old to go back and forth between first baseman and designated hitter. It was also true that the first base defense was also unstable to entrust more than 100 games. Rather, there were many eyes that the outfield was more suitable to save his strong shoulder as a pitcher.
Accordingly, Kang Baek-ho went to the outfield ground from the Arizona spring camp in the United States and revived his memory of three years ago. However, his training period was not long. This is because major league first baseman Choi Ji-man (Pittsburgh) failed to board the WBC, so he quickly changed his glove to a first baseman’s glove and returned to the infield. Feeling a slight pain in his hamstring after finishing the WBC, he plans to receive defensive training in the outfield again for the remaining 10 days until the opening day.
Then why did Kang Baek-ho ask the command tower to change his position even though he was successful at first base? Director Lee said, “Kang Baek-ho said he was afraid of first base. These days, left-handed hitters hit a lot of hard balls. If you defend in a difficult place, you can be stressed even to hit. He made a decision to put less stress on at least one side.”
Kang Baek-ho plans to take outfield classes in earnest from the Suwon LG game on the 23rd in the aftermath of a hamstring injury. Coach Lee said, “From the 23rd, I think it will be okay to run, so I will try it. Until he gets used to it, he goes out as the designated hitter, but in the end, it’s up to the player to do it. If he seems to come up quickly, he will make it right,” he revealed the plan.
The mindset of the players is also different. As much as he himself asked for it, he feels a sense of responsibility. Kang Baek-ho said,메이저놀이터 “There are so many competitive players in the first baseman position, so I wanted to go to the position I was originally looking for. The outfield is less burdensome,” he said. “In a way, now I can play multiple positions. I will work hard while watching both the outfielder and the first baseman.”