Hanwha’s Ha Ju-seok, 29, is inching closer to returning to the first team. He exploded for four hits, including a home run, in his second live game since being suspended.

Ha started at first base against the Goyang Heroes in the 2023 KBO Futures League on Saturday at the Goyang National Baseball Training Center and went 4-for-7 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored.

After leading off the first inning with a fly out to left field, Ha came up to bat in the top of the third inning and opened the scoring with an RBI single to left field, and again in the top of the fifth inning, Ha completed his multi-hit performance with an RBI single to left field.

He followed it up with a home run. In the top of the sixth, Ha hit a two-run homer to left off Jeong Yeon-je, and in the top of the seventh, he added a single to right-center to complete his four-hit performance. He followed that up with a pitcher’s choice in the top of the eighth and a fly out to center field in the top of the ninth.

The game was won by Hanwha in a big way, 18-1. Starting pitcher Kim Seo-hyun earned the win after pitching 5⅔ innings of five-hit ball, striking out seven and walking one.

Ha Joo-seok, who had previously enjoyed his first successful outing since being suspended by going 2-for-4 with a home run and a walk in a Futures League game against Goyang on May 5, pounded out four hits, including a home run, in the game, signaling that he is nearing a return to the first team. 안전놀이터

After Ha’s first game in the Futures League, Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho received a report from the Futures team that “Ha’s movement was good considering he hasn’t played for a long time.”

Currently, Hanwha is in eighth place, but the team is on the rise, having recently won eight straight games for the first time in 18 years, and with Lee Do-yoon at shortstop, the team has been energized both offensively and defensively, so there is no rush to call up Ha Joo-seok to the first team. “Now that he’s played two games, we’ll keep an eye on him a little longer,” said Choi Won-ho.

Meanwhile, Ha was caught driving drunk in November last year in Daejeon’s Dong-gu district, and was suspended for having a blood alcohol level of 0.078%, and the KBO suspended him for 70 games. It will be interesting to see how quickly Ha-joo-seok, who hasn’t played a game in eight months since the KBO suspension, can regain his feel for the game by playing in the Futures League.

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