Lotte Giants catcher Yoo Kang-nam is all smiles.
Yoo, who signed a four-year, 8 billion won ($7.8 million) contract with Lotte before the season, has been stressed out by underwhelming performances. On Friday, he went 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBIs and one run scored in a 10-3 win over Samsung Electronics in Ulsan.
Starting at No. 6, Yoo took a 141-kilometer fastball from Samsung starter Choi Chae-heung with runners on first and third in the first inning for a three-run homer to left-center field. It was his first home run in 45 days since July 22 against Sajik Kiwoom. Lotte took a 4-0 lead in the first inning on Gudrum’s sacrifice fly to right field and Yoo Kang-nam’s three-run homer to left-center field.
Yoo completed his 10th multi-hit game of the season with a two-run double to right field in his second at-bat of the inning. Acting Lotte manager Lee Jong-woon applauded Yoo, saying, “He was able to bring the momentum to our side with his three-run home run early in the game.”
Speaking to the media after the game, Yoo Kang-nam said, “I was confident from the first pitch and tried to swing coolly. I was nervous about the outcome of the game, so I thought I would swing coolly and without regret,” he said of his first taste of the game in 45 days.
He continued, “I’m having a low season in my career due to my batting, but my coaches are helping me a lot and encouraging me that I can do it. With the encouragement of the coaches, I don’t get discouraged and try to do better. I am grateful to my coaches for giving me courage today.”
To get out of his batting slump, Yoo said that watching videos of himself batting helped. “Today, I happened to watch a video when I was feeling good, and I thought about how I hit and tried to follow it,” he said. Yoo says.
The bat he received from his “best friend” Koo Ja-uk (Samsung) also played a role. “Before today’s game, I got a bat from him, and I hit a home run in my first at-bat with it. I had a good performance, but he only went 0-for-4. I don’t know if I took away any good energy from him,” he said.
One of Yoo’s greatest strengths is his durability. He’s far from injury-free, but he did take a break in July when he tore a muscle in his left side while swinging. “It was very embarrassing,” he recalls, “and I took solace in the fact that it was only a half-inch tear. I’m just glad I didn’t push through the pain and talk about it before it got worse. I think it was a sign from heaven to take good care of myself and stick to my routine.”
Lotte starter Aaron Wilkerson earned his fourth win of the season with a six-inning, three-run quality start. “It was helpful to increase the percentage of cut fastballs based on the data we received from the R&D team before today’s game,” said Yoo Kang-nam, who worked with Wilkerson. “Wilkerson is a very good pitcher, so he can throw well with any catcher.”메이저사이트
When I asked Yoo Kang-nam, “I think you’re going to get a boost from this performance,” he said, “I want to do this every day, but it’s not working out,” and added, “You just have to keep going. We have a winning streak, so we have enough for fall baseball. I want to think positively,” he replied with a smile.
The progress of Lotte’s younger catchers, such as Lee Jung-geun and Son Seong-bin, has him smiling. “When I see the juniors doing well, I feel proud and happy, and it makes me feel good. The atmosphere in the catcher’s circle is very good. I just need to do well,” he concludes.