Kang Baek-ho has been named to the starting lineup after returning to the first team ahead of the All-Star break.
KT, led by Lee Kang-cheol, will play the 11th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the Kiwoom Heroes at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Wednesday. The starting pitcher will be William Cuevas.
KT’s lineup was Kim Sang-soo (shortstop), Kim Min-hyuk (center field), Anthony Alford (left field), Park Byung-ho (first base), Kang Baek-ho (designated hitter), Jang Sung-woo (catcher), Hwang Jae-gyun (third base), Lee Ho-yeon (second base), and Cho Yong-ho (right field). Tablesetters Kim Sang-soo and Kim Min-hyuk have switched places in the batting order, and Cho Yong-ho is starting in the outfield.
The most prominent name is Kang Baek-ho. This is Kang’s first start in 36 days since he resigned against the Sajik Lotte Giants on March 6.
Kang Baek-ho, who was added to the first-team roster 11 days ahead of the game, came to bat in the top of the fifth inning with the bases loaded and two outs, and struck out after a six-pitch at-bat. He did not play defense and was immediately replaced by Kim Min-hyuk.
“It’s a bit of a waste that he only got one at-bat yesterday, but I thought, let’s not be greedy,” Lee Kang-chul said before the game on the 12th, explaining the reason for Kang Baek-ho’s start, “He told me he was fine after a long time, and I thought he was fine (from what I could see), so I’m going to use him once as a designated hitter.” 꽁머니
The manager didn’t say anything to Kang Baek-ho. “I asked him, ‘Are you okay,’ and he said, ‘Yes,'” Lee said, adding, “He said he’s feeling better overall. He seems to have lost a little more weight on his face (than before).”
The day before, KT snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over Kiwoom, but the team lacked scoring support from its bats. If it wasn’t for starter Benjamin’s 7⅔ innings of two-run ball, the victory would have been a long shot.
Coach Lee Kang-cheol said, “Benjamin made it happen. When you’re together, how you set the tone for the game keeps the batters focused. If we had conceded early, the batters would not have been able to maintain their focus. When you shut them down, they try to find a way to get out, and when Park went out (in the top of the seventh), we were able to get three runs.”
In the end, a solid mound presence is only as good as its hitters. It will be interesting to see if Kang Baek-ho can live up to the team’s expectations in his first start since his return.