The 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) held in March is not a major league showcase for Lee Jung-hoo (24). Lee Jung-hoo’s point of view was different.
On the 19th (hereafter Korean time), 메이저놀이터 Lee Jeong-hoo conducted training for the national team at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, USA. On this day, Lee Jung-hoo digested weight training, warm-up, bunt, base running, throwing, and batting training.
On the 17th, Lee Jeong-hoo started as the first hitter and center fielder in a practice game against the NC Dinos. Lee Jung-hoo, who was the first batter in the first inning, faced right-hander Shin Min-hyeok and withdrew due to pitcher grounding out. In the 2nd inning match against right-hander Song Myung-ki, he appeared at a chance for 1st and 2nd base, but was blocked by shortstop’s fly ball. Lee Jung-hoo’s record is 2 at-bats, no hits.
Regarding the first actual match after morning training, Lee Jung-hoo said, “There are still 4 practice games left and there is a game in Japan. I think the practice game played in the US is live betting. I came to. The team did not do live betting at all.”
The ball he hit against Shin Min-hyuk was sharp. The ball hit Shin Min-hyeok’s body and did not lead to a hit. Lee Jung-hoo said, “In the first game, I got a good ball and I could see the pitcher’s ball well. Tomorrow (20th against KIA) I have a game. When I play against another team, I plan to match the timing or do what I want to do to my heart’s content.”
In a practice game against NC, as many as nine major league scouts gathered. Scouts for the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, and Kansas City Royals observed Lee Jung-hoo, who will knock on the big league door after the 2023 season.
Lee Jung-hoo was calm. He said calmly, “I wasn’t conscious of (the scouts). I heard a lot that the evaluation was over. I came to see it just because I was curious about how it was done, so I wasn’t conscious.”
At the same time, Lee Jeong-hoo said, “I think it will be a showcase for players who want to advance to the US like (Ko) Woo-seok, (Jung) Woo-young, (Kang) Baek-ho, and (Kim) Hye-seong, rather than me. It’s a national team game, and through this tournament I have no intention of making myself known. I am only thinking about winning the team. I just want to go to the game and win quickly,” he said, focusing on the national team.
The national team will play the first match of the first round against Australia on March 9th. Lee Jung-hoo is also aware of the importance of the game against Australia. “We have to win against Australia unconditionally. The first match against Australia is the first match, and the next match is against Japan (March 10). That’s our biggest goal.”