A manager’s frustration at having to bench a “genius hitter” “The way the team is right now… If Byung-ho gets to first base…

“We’re not in a situation where we can afford it….”

KT Wiz slugger Kang Baek-ho has been playing only as a pinch hitter since his return to the first team. He came in as a pinch-hitter and hit a grand slam against the SSG Landers on April 8, but he still hasn’t gotten a chance to start. Since returning to the first team, he is 1-for-4 with a home run, four RBIs, and two walks. He didn’t even get a chance to pinch-hit against SSG on Dec. 12 due to a tight pitching matchup.

Kang Baek-ho, who played pitcher and catcher in high school, switched his defensive positions to outfield and first base after his professional debut. However, despite being hailed as a “hitting genius,” he hasn’t received much praise for his defense.스포츠토토

Recently, KT has been starting Oh Yoon-seok at first base, with Bae Jae-dae in center field and Anthony Alford and Kim Min-hyuk in the corner outfield. In terms of defense alone, Kang Baek-ho is no better than them.

For the team’s batting, Kang Baek-ho should be the starter, but it’s hard to make a decision based on his defense. KT is a team that wins by defending rather than scoring a lot of points, so defense is more important than offense.

KT head coach Lee Kang-cheol said, “There’s also the Asian Games, so I want to let (Kang) Baek-ho play a lot, but right now, the main players have to play,” adding, “We can’t afford it. We have to have a player who can defend especially when we have the lead.”

“When we are losing, we need to be aggressive, so there will be times when we need to use (Kang) Baek-ho as a substitute,” Lee said. Besides Kang Baek-ho, KT also has other pinch-hitters such as Moon Sang-chul and Lee Jong-ho.

“The best option is for Park Byung-ho to play first base,” Lee said. “If (Park) plays first base, (Kang) Baek-ho or (Moon) Sang-chul will be the designated hitter depending on the opposing pitcher. Then both the defense and offense will be strengthened.” Park Byung-ho has been playing only as a designated hitter due to his calf condition and is often substituted during games. “(Park) is getting better and better, so maybe one day he’ll be able to start,” Lee said.

Kang pinch-hit for eighth baseman Shin Bong-ki in the top of the sixth inning with the score tied 2-2, but he flied out to center field. He was replaced by second baseman Jang Jun-won.

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