“I will work hard for fall baseball”.
Won-jun Choi had a solid game against the Hanwha Eagles in Gwangju on April 26. Starting in the No. 9 spot in center field, Choi went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. He helped lead the team to a 12-4 victory. The team’s three-game winning streak pushed them to within half a game of fifth-place Doosan.
All three hits came at key moments. Down 0-2 in the bottom of the third inning, Park opened the inning with a single to right field, followed by Chan-ho Park’s quick drive to right field to score the go-ahead run. With the score tied at 2-2 in the fourth inning, he hit a two-run double to right-center field to spark a five-run big inning.
In the seventh inning, he singled up the middle to put runners on second and third. It was his best at-bat since his three-hit, four-RBI performance against Samsung Electronics on Aug. 1. His batting, which he struggled with after his military service, is also getting back on track in the third month. He is 2-for-8 in August and 3-for-4 in his last 10 games. In total, he’s 2-for-6 with 21 RBIs, 30 runs scored, eight doubles, and a .695 OPS.
After the game, Choi Won-jun talked about his game-winning hit in the fourth inning, saying, “The hitters in front of me created good opportunities, so there was no pressure. With one out, I felt more comfortable. With two outs, it would have been a lot of pressure. I swung confidently, believing in the changes I made to my hitting, and it paid off. In my commercial career, my timing came back a lot without realizing it, and I went in a lot to watch the ball. I had an open stance and that was good,” he said.
At the same time, he struggled with playing first base instead of the outfield. Coach Kim Jong-kook started Choi Won-jun at first base. He wanted to utilize both Lee Woo-sung and Choi Won-jun, who had become the main outfielders, at the same time. However, he made a mistake because he was unfamiliar with the position. He made a throwing error that led to the team’s defeat. Kim used him as an outfielder again to ease the pressure.
“I joined the team in a hurry with everyone. I apologized to the team and showed them my mistakes because I was playing first base, which I hadn’t done in spring training. Whenever I made a mistake, the manager and coach would say, ‘You’re not a first baseman, so just relax and do it,’ but I felt a lot of pressure because the team lost. I had a great desire to make up for it, and that part was a little difficult,” he sighed.
Hitting hasn’t been easy either. In the season before his enlistment, he was a consistent leadoff hitter with 174 hits and a steady bat in the Future League. However, his preparation for the 2023 season was not easy due to a bad shoulder. His playing time decreased due to his military service. He was unable to create anything of his own in the batting lineup. Unsurprisingly, his batting didn’t improve after he joined the team.메이저사이트
“My shoulder hurt this year and I didn’t train enough. I said I would do a lot, but it wasn’t easy to prepare in the military. When it was time for me to leave, the recruits were playing a lot. I joined the team without being able to establish myself properly. I think I struggled a lot in the beginning. I thought I had adapted, but the coaches and my brothers told me that I would not be able to move easily, and I think I did.”
Choi Won-jun is expected to play primarily in the outfield, away from the burden of first base. Of course, he can also play first base depending on the game situation. When asked about his goals for the rest of the season, Choi said, “I will focus on helping the team fight for fifth place. I want to think about the team a lot. Whether I’m batting last or first, I’ll do what I can. Even if it’s hard, I’ll do it one by one,” he said, emphasizing team first.