Lotte Giants outfielder Ko Seung-min will be out for a while due to an injury.
A Lotte official said on July 7, “Go Seung-min suffered a finger injury. It will take about four weeks to recover,” a Lotte representative said. Due to the injury, Go Seung-min was designated for assignment and Ji Ji-wan was called up.
The injury situation is as follows. In the top of the fifth inning of the previous day’s game against Hanwha in Daejeon, Go sprinted toward the second baseman after hitting a grounder to Lee Tae-yang, and then made a head-first slide toward the first base line. In the process, he injured his left thumb, and a medical examination revealed a torn ligament in the inner part of his thumb.안전놀이터
Lotte lost one of their best first basemen.
Manager Larry Sutton said, “I think head-first sliding is an athlete’s reaction. It’s something that any player does because they want to win the game. I don’t think it’s something that’s taught, it’s something that comes naturally. It’s unfortunate that he got injured.”
On the absence of Ko Seung-min, he said, “The team must overcome the difficulties together. Seung-min was doing a good job on defense and offense. We will try to overcome the difficulties as a ‘one team’ in various ways.”
Selected by Lotte with the 8th overall pick in the second round of the 2019 KBO Draft, Ko Seung-min started his professional career as a second baseman. He was recognized as a very talented hitter. In 30 games in his rookie season, he batted .253 with 21 hits, six RBIs and seven runs scored, all while playing second base.
Lotte, who knew from the time they picked him up that they wanted to use him in a position other than second base, started giving him outfield lessons after he returned from active military duty. As a result, he started every game in the outfield last year, batting .316 with 74 hits, five home runs, 30 RBIs, 31 runs scored, and an OPS of .834 in 92 games.
This year, he switched positions again. Back to the infield. This time at first base. It’s not that he hasn’t played in the outfield, but he’s mostly worn a first base glove.
Lotte had more outfield resources to utilize besides Ko Seung-min, so the team added an “option” to increase Ko Seung-min’s utilization. Although it’s been a bit of a trial and error process, Go Seung-min has been able to adapt quickly to the unfamiliar position despite the frequent position changes.
Jeong Hoon, Jeon Jun-woo, Ahn Chi-hong, and Kim Min-soo have played first base for Lotte this season. Lotte will likely rely on them to fill the void left by Go Seung-min.