38-Year-Old Shortstop Hitting 3 for 2…No Successor in Sight, ‘Genius Shortstop’ Shouldn’t Retire on His Back

Posted on 12 August 2023 by maxytee.com

Doosan Bears veteran infielder Kim Jae-ho has literally “rejuvenated”. That’s because the 38-year-old shortstop is batting third and hitting second in the second half of the season. And there’s still no heir apparent to the title of “genius shortstop,” so it’s too early to call it quits.

On August 11, Doosan won an 11-4 victory over the Hanwha Eagles in Daejeon. With the win, Doosan improved to 49 wins, 1 tie, and 45 losses on the season and remained in fifth place in the league. Only one game separates them from the third-place NC Dinos and fourth-place KT WIZ.

Doosan struck first in the top of the first inning. After a leadoff single by Jung Soo-bin and a walk to Kim Jae-ho, Doosan took the lead with runners on first and second when Kim Jae-hwan singled to right.스포츠토토

After a solo home run by Heo Kyung-min in the top of the second, Doosan had the bases loaded in the top of the third after back-to-back singles by Kim Jae-ho and Rojas and a walk by Yang Seok-hwan. Against reliever Lee Tae-yang, Doosan capitalized on a Kim Jae-hwan single, a fielding error, and a three-RBI double by Heo Kyung-min to take a 7-0 lead.

The Doosan bats didn’t stop scoring runs. In the top of the fourth inning, Kang Seung-ho scored on a groundout with the bases loaded, and in the top of the fifth inning, Jung Soo-bin hit an RBI triple, Kim Jae-ho scored on a groundout, and Ahn Jae-seok hit an RBI single to right field to make it 11-0.

With the big lead, Doosan took it easy in the sixth inning, making a number of changes to its lineup. Starting pitcher Brandon Waddell earned his fifth win of the season (2-2) with six innings of five-hit, four-strikeout, three-walk, one-run quality starts.

Kim Jae-ho, who batted second and played shortstop, also shined. He went 1-for-2 with a double, one RBI, two walks, and two runs scored.

In 51 games this season, Kim Jae-ho, who has been batting second most of the time lately, is batting .311 with 38 hits, 13 RBI and a .409 on-base percentage. Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop said, “Kim Jae-ho is doing so well in the No. 2 spot. He is 38 years old, so we have to take care of him, but there is no alternative, so he has to play every day. In addition to his stable defense, he has been doing a great job batting for the team,” he said, giving him a thumbs-up.

Kim Jae-ho will be a free agent after this season. It’s a crucial time for him to prove his worth in order to extend his contract. In conclusion, Doosan still hasn’t found a successor to its ‘genius shortstop’. This is because the team has had several different faces in the shortstop position since the beginning of the season, but in the end, Kim Jae-ho is still the only one who has been able to hold onto the position.

In a recent interview with MK Sports, Kim Jae-ho said, “When I am given the opportunity, I do my best in the moment. I feel happy to play every day like this. When I was younger, I rarely batted second because there were many other good hitters. Now, I think I’m in that position because of the team situation, so I try to focus on the team’s batting as much as possible. I really enjoy it when I do something to help the team win,” he smiled.

Kim has been in the best physical shape of his career this season, free from the shoulder and back injuries that have plagued him in recent years. That’s why he’s starting to smell like his old self.

“My shoulder is definitely better, so unlike last year, I can respond to the pitcher’s fastball at the plate. In defense, I’m starting to accept that my reaction time has slowed down a bit. When I was younger, I used to take my first step from the back of the infield, but now I try to take my first step from the front and reduce the angle of the hit as much as possible,” he said.

Kim Jae-ho further emphasized the importance of defense to his juniors. In the past, Doosan’s reputation was built on its defense, led by Hustle Doo, and Kim Jae-ho believes in the power of defense because he was one of the main players who built that reputation.

“Compared to the best members of the team a few years ago, it’s a challenge for us to perfectly coordinate our defense. If the younger juniors can’t settle down and change positions frequently, it’s inevitable that they won’t be able to call each other’s plays or coordinate the details of the defense. Still, defense is what makes a strong team. While batting has its cycles, defense is a great weapon that can keep you in close games when your batting cycle drops. In order to become a stronger team, we need to focus on defense for the team rather than for ourselves.”

Above all, Kim wants to prove his worth in the remaining games of the season. This is why he has a strong desire to extend his career. At this point, Doosan has yet to find a successor to Kim. It’s completely inconceivable that Kim Jae-ho, who bats second and plays shortstop every day, would retire on his back after this season. He still has a lot of work to do for the organization.

“For me, there is no early retirement (laughs). “The title of ‘Doosan’s starting shortstop’ is not something you get easily, you have to be the best that everyone recognizes. And I don’t think it should be given away easily. I have to continue to show my competitiveness in the remaining games of the season. The future is not always in my hands, but I want to prove that I’m not out of the picture just yet.”



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