Samsung has named two players to its baseball team for the Hangzhou Asian Games in September. Pitcher Won Tae-in and infielder Kim Ji-chan were named to the final roster announced on March 9.

Each KBO team is allowed to select a minimum of one and a maximum of three players, and Samsung has one more player in the mix. Outfielder Kim Hyun-jun, 21, has been struggling with his hot bat and is being touted as a possible replacement for Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom), who is expected to be dropped due to injury.

Lee was substituted in the eighth inning of the Sasik Lotte game on Sept. 22 after feeling pain in his left ankle while fielding. He was diagnosed with a left ankle extensor ligament injury after an MRI and x-ray on the 24th. The membrane that wraps around the ankle tendon is damaged and requires suture surgery to repair. Lee, who will undergo surgery on Sept. 27, will need about three months of rehabilitation before he can return to action in late October.

It will be difficult for Lee to join the baseball team for the Asian Games, which will be held on Sept. 20, so roster changes are inevitable. Excluding players from LG and KIA, who have filled the maximum three roster spots per team, Kim Hyun-jun is one of the outfielders on the preliminary roster, along with Choi Jae-dae (KT), Yoon Dong-hee and Kim Min-seok (Lotte).

In terms of overall season performance, Kim is the best of the bunch. After missing the start of the season with a fractured metacarpal bone in his right hand, Kim was promoted to the first team on May 19 and is batting 3-for-62 (198 at-bats) with two home runs, 16 RBIs and a .747 OPS in 50 games.

After starting May 11 with a 2-for-37 (38-for-9), one home run and a .609 OPS, he rebounded in June 25 with a 3-for-5 (95-for-29), one home run, eight RBIs and a .726 OPS, and has been on fire in July 14 with a 3-for-6 (65-for-24), seven RBIs and an .859 OPS. His month-to-month performance has been on a steady upward curve. 안전놀이터

Samsung manager Park Jin-man also expressed his expectations. Before the game against SSG in Daegu on the 26th, Park lamented that “Lee Jung-hoo is unfortunately out with an injury,” but said, “It could be an opportunity for Kim Hyun-joon himself. Even if he’s not shy, I think he’ll be greedy. He’s been doing so well lately that it seems to be appealing to some extent.”

Park continued, “At the beginning of the season, I needed time to adapt after my injury, but now I have time to relax. She has experienced a lot of games since last year, so she has the ability to cope with unfavorable counts for her age. She is also stable in the outfield defense. He has improved to the point where I can watch him comfortably from the bench.”

Kim continued his upward trend in the game, going 2-for-5 with two doubles, one RBI and a multi-hit performance. With one final roster change available before the start of the Asian Games on Sept. 23, the KBO’s Power Enhancement Committee will meet early next month to outline Lee’s replacement. With his recent performance being so important, it’s important for Kim to keep up the pace.

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