The Doosan Bears are facing a major blow after losing catcher Yang Yang-ji (36) to injury.
Doosan removed the catcher from the first team roster and recalled infielder Kim Min-hyuk ahead of their game against the Samsung Lions in Jamsil on Monday. Yang visited a hospital on the 7th to check on his side, which had been bothering him since the previous weekend, and was told that he had a 1.8-centimeter tear in his left side muscle.
The Doosan coaching staff, including head coach Lee Seung-yeop, pondered whether to remove Yang Ji from the first team. They needed to decide whether to wait until the fall to manage the injury or keep him on the roster for the immediate battle for the top five. In the end, Lee decided to give Yang Ji at least ten days of rest.
A Doosan official said, “The injury is a tear, but it’s not serious. However, we don’t want him to tear the muscle (in his side) further by running unnecessarily, so we decided to give him a break.”
Doosan was on a roll last month with an 11-game winning streak before a five-game losing streak put a damper on its momentum. As of Aug. 8, Doosan has slipped to fifth place with a season record of 47 wins, 44 losses and one draw. Meanwhile, the NC Dinos, who have won four in a row, are third with 48 wins, 43 losses and one draw, and the KT Wiz, who took a sweep from Doosan in a three-game series last weekend, are fourth with 49 wins, 44 losses and two draws.
In this situation, Yang’s departure hurts. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Yang was half or more of Doosan’s power. That starts with the price tag. Before the season, Doosan gave Yang a massive 4+2-year contract totaling $15.2 billion. It was the largest contract for a free agent in history.
Lee used Yang throughout the season. As a veteran in his late 30s, he needed to work on his fitness, but he mostly wore a catcher’s mask. Yang started 65 of the Bears’ 87 games this year, playing 522⅔ innings of defense. Backup catcher Jang Seung-hyun has eased the burden with 52 games and 258⅔ innings, but Yangji has been a much bigger part of the team. Until Yang returns, Jang Seung-hyun will have to fill Yang’s void. The other catcher on the roster, Park Yoo-yeon, only has four innings of experience as a catcher in one game for the first team this year. For now, Park Yoo-yeon will wear the catcher’s mask for Game 8.
Yang has been taking over the No. 4 hitter duties this year while the traditional No. 4, Kim Jae-hwan, has been struggling. She has been the centerpiece of the batting order, batting fourth when there is a defensive burden. Yang has been Doosan’s best hitter this season, batting .323 (94-for-291) with nine home runs, 44 RBIs, and a .906 OPS.
Now that Yang is gone, the rest of the center fielders, including Kim Jae-hwan, Yang Seok-hwan, and Jose Rojas, will need to step up. In particular, Kim Jae-hwan, who is batting just .125 in his last 10 games and is on a five-game hitting streak, needs to wake up to minimize the impact of Yang’s absence.토토사이트
Meanwhile, Doosan has two catchers in Jang Seung-hyun and Park Yoo-yeon, so they chose Kim Min-hyuk to add weight to their batting order. Min-hyuk is a former big-league prospect who Lee watched closely in spring training this year. While he only hit .143 in 16 games with the first team, he should prove to be a viable right-handed bat. In the Futures League this year, Kim is hitting .286 with six home runs and 28 RBIs in 45 games.