Yong-kyu Lee returns to spearhead the offense…and still excels at running the bases
“There’s no slump in the foot,” is a baseball adage that means a runner with good footwork is always a threat to opposing defenses. In his 40s, Lee Yong-kyu (37, Kiwoom Heroes) is a force to be reckoned with with his feet.카지노
On April 26, Lee scored a run on a clever base hit during a home game against the Hanwha Eagles at the Gocheok SkyDome in Seoul.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, with Kiwoom trailing 1-4 and no one out, Yong-kyu singled to right field off pitcher Moon Dong-joo and moved to second on a walk by Kim Hye-sung. He then raced to third on Ronnie Dawson’s infield single.
Hanwha second baseman Jung Eun-won caught the ball and lost it. He kicked it out as he tried to catch it again. Lee Yong-kyu saw the play from third base, took a few steps back toward home, and then made a bold charge to score. The infield hit allowed the runner at second base to reach home.
A similar scene occurred the day before against Hanwha. Lee Yong-kyu led off the bottom of the third inning with Kiwoom leading 1-0, and after Kim Hye-sung and Dawson drew walks, he moved to third base.
The next batter, Lee Won-seok, hit a line drive down the left field line, and Hanwha shortstop Lee Do-yoon made a shaky catch, his body facing the stands on the third base side instead of toward home. Lee tagged up, dug in, and made a head-first slide to touch home before Song did. His judgment and quick feet stood out.
Lee Yong-kyu, who made his debut in 2004, is now in his 20th professional season. He is well into his mid-30s and is the team’s oldest player. With 393 career stolen bases (as of June 26), he’s the “Dado” of Korean baseball, but his speed is down from his prime. However, he has gained a lot of experience over the years and is still an excellent baserunner.
After being sidelined with a right hand sprain in May, Lee Yong-kyu made his return to the first team on the 23rd. He had originally planned to get some reps in a Futures League game, but he was called up as an emergency call-up after star outfielder Lee Jung-hoo was removed from the first team roster due to a left ankle injury.
Lee Yong-kyu has been hitting well since his return. In three games and 14 at-bats, he had five hits. His batting average was .385, and his unique ability to cut (intentionally foul off pitches) put pressure on opposing batters.
Kim Jun-wan, Lee Hyung-jong, and Lim Ji-yeol, who replaced Yong-kyu in the first half of the season, all failed to live up to expectations. Their low batting average meant that they had fewer opportunities to get on base in front of Kim Hye-sung and Jung-hoo.
Now, Lee Yong-kyu is back. His batting average isn’t too bad after a long absence, and he’s a seasoned baserunner, so he’s expected to spearhead the Kiwoom offense. He will also have to take on the role of team leader in place of Lee Jeong-hoo, who is out for the long term after undergoing ankle surgery.