Even though he’s been the starting shortstop for three months now, “I still get a little nervous before I get the start,” he said. Sometimes he forgets he’s a starter.
Hanwha Eagles infielder Lee Do-yoon, 27, will have two seasons in 2023: before and after May 20. He started the season with the Future Team (second team) and was promoted to the first team on May 20, 50 days into the season. Opening the season with the second team in his ninth year as a pro didn’t discourage or frustrate him. In fact, it helped him.
“Last year, when I was in the first team, I didn’t play much. Even if I had started in the first team, I wouldn’t have gotten much playing time. I was in good shape, but I started in the second team. I wanted to try again with my best form, and I was able to get enough practice to prepare myself.”
Consistency is more important than breaking into the first team. I stepped into the gaps left by the first team players and took advantage of the opportunities.
A player who contributed a lot in defense has also upgraded his offensive abilities. That’s why we’ll see him again this season.
On December 12 and 13, he had three hits in two consecutive games against the Doosan Bears. In the 12th game, he hit an RBI double with runners on first and second in the bottom of the seventh inning with the score 2-1 and an RBI single with runners on first and second in the bottom of the eighth inning with the score 5-1.
“Even when I’m out of the batter’s box, I try to picture in my head what play I need to make depending on the situation. Now it’s just one or two at-bats.
I don’t take one shot, so I look at the whole game and try to get a goal.”
He said he tries to be patient with pitches that are difficult to hit. “I don’t consciously try to hit the changeup,” he said, “but when I lose my timing, I get a good hit.
As he continued to perform well as a starter, something changed. Cheerleaders appeared. More fans recognized him.
His defense remains his biggest strength. Depending on the situation, he plays second base as well as shortstop.
“I’ve been practicing a lot, so there’s nothing difficult. Last season, I struggled a little bit because I didn’t know where to go. It was mainly because I was out there (in center field) when it mattered. I tried not to be nervous. I overcame it with practice.” 메이저놀이터
Lee expressed his gratitude to his two seniors. Fellow infielder Oh Sun-jin, 34, and catcher Choi Jae-hoon, 34.
“Sun-jin keeps asking him and asking for advice. I listen to their opinions, synthesize them, and choose what works for me. Jae-hoon usually tells me a lot of good things and takes care of me.”
Lee played in 59 games this season, batting 2-for-8 (45-for-161) with eight RBIs and 18 runs scored.
“I don’t feel the heat. It’s not hard or anything like that,” he said.