Hanwha’s rebound in May can’t be explained without mentioning free agent infielder Oh Sun-jin (34). Until April, rookie Park Jung-hyun’s high percentage of playing time at shortstop didn’t meet expectations, but in May, the team began to stabilise with Oh in the centre of the infield.

In the month of May, when he became the starting shortstop, Oh batted .456 with a .869 OPS in 19 games (15-for-46), two doubles, 10 RBIs, eight walks, and a .869 slugging percentage. In addition to his defensive steadiness, he batted sixth and eighth in the batting order, connecting with the top of the order with his Altoran-like bat.

However, on the first day of June, he was hit in the jaw by a fastball from opposing pitcher Kim Jun-hyung in the Daejeon Kiwoom game. Luckily, he didn’t break any bones, but his jaw was torn open by about two centimetres, requiring 30 stitches. It took a week for the stitches to heal and he was removed from the first team roster the next day.

While he was down, he also focused on recovering his right hamstring, which hasn’t felt good since mid-May. He hoped to return to the first team by pitching five innings in the Futures League against Lotte in Sangdong, Gimhae, on the 13th and 14th of last month, but lingering fears of a recurrence put the brakes back on.

Oh, who marked his return to action with a 1-for-3 performance as a first baseman against Doosan in Seosan on the 12th, said, “I played while managing my hamstring, but I had anxiety. If I get sick again, it will take a long time to recover, so I was not in a hurry to get better,” he said.

“I’m sorry to the team,” Oh said of his delayed return. I’m supposed to play defence (even before the waiver), but because I was a designated hitter, the players who needed to rest couldn’t,” he said. “It’s important that I don’t get sick again, so I’ll definitely take this opportunity to get rid of the pain.”

In Oh’s absence, ninth-year veteran Lee Do-yoon, who has been playing shortstop, helped the team to an eight-game winning streak. “I felt like Do-yoon was being chased before, but when he was guaranteed a chance and kept playing, I could see that he was comfortable from his expression to his play. It was good to see him doing well after all the hardships he’s been through,” Oh said, smiling at his junior’s growth.토토사이트

It’s a shame he wasn’t there for the historic eight-game winning streak, the first in 18 years. “From the time we were preparing in camp, the seniors kept saying, ‘This team is going to be really good,’ and I could see the growth of the players. The team struggled in the beginning but got better and better. I think the eight-game winning streak is well deserved. I’m not really surprised. We still have a long way to go. I watched the eight-game winning streak on TV and the fans were really happy and excited. I think it would have been really exciting and fun to be there, and it’s a shame that I wasn’t there,” said Oh.

With the development of Lee Do-yoon and the return of Ha Joo-seok, Hanwha has plenty of room at shortstop, but Oh is an above-average player who can also cover second and third base. This season, he has seen time at shortstop (169⅔ innings in 18 starts in 27 games), third base (22 innings in two starts in four games), and second base (15 innings in two starts in three games), totalling 206⅔ innings without an error. He’s ready to play wherever the team needs him.

“If I go to the first team, I want to support the younger guys, and I’ve been playing second and third base for a long time, so it’s not hard once you get used to it,” he said. “I’m sorry I came back as a free agent and didn’t fill the role the team wanted me to fill. There is still the second half of the season, so I want to prepare well and help the team do better than they are doing now. We have won eight games in a row, so now we will aim for nine.”

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