Lotte Giants third baseman Han Dong-hee (23) has been designated for assignment to the second team. This is the first time he has been sent to the second team this season. Han is expected to return to the first team after preparing his body and mind in the Futures League.
Lotte removed infielder Han Dong-hee from the first team roster on Friday. This is the first time Han has been removed from the first team roster this season. For the time being, Han will be playing for the Lotte Futures team to revitalize her baseball skills.
Han was expected to fill the void left by Lee Dae-ho (40-retired), the “Joseon’s No. 4 hitter,” this season. For the first time since his professional debut in 2018, Han hit over .307 last season, with 14 home runs, and was expected to serve as Lotte’s centerpiece hitter.
In her salary negotiations this season, Han signed an “incentive option contract” with Lotte that allowed her to choose her own performance instead of a fixed salary.
However, Han had a rough start to the season. She appeared in 43 games this season, batting just .235 (36-for-153). Her long ball, one of her strengths, was also silent, resulting in an OPS of just .604, which is a combination of slugging and on-base percentage. That’s not exactly the kind of hitting you’d expect from her.
During Lotte’s spring training in February, Han worked hard to not only improve her offense, but also her defense, which was considered her weakness. She even lost more than 10 kilograms of weight to improve her defense.
Han Dong-hee had a great game against the KIA Tigers on April 2, going 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs, and two runs scored. However, she had a bit of a slump in the previous four games, going 0-for-4. Han’s lack of consistency caused Lotte manager Larry Sutton and his coaching staff to push her out of the top of the batting order, and she was recently batted as low as eighth.
Eventually, the Lotte coaching staff decided to give her a chance to get her body and mind in shape, and she responded. For the time being, Han is expected to play in the Futures League to improve her game.
Han Dong-hee is the main player who will lead Lotte’s future baseball program. She must come alive. What she needs to show is what the team’s most senior player, Jeong Hoon (35), has shown.
Jung-hoon was designated for assignment to the second team on March 4 after a severe batting slump. After opening the season with a .077 batting average (1-for-13) in 16 games, Jung-hoon struggled mightily. After being sent down to the Futures League, Jung-hoon got some much-needed time to regain his form. In 10 games in the Futures League, Jung-hoon hit .444 (12-for-27) with one home run and four RBIs.
Jung-hoon returned to the first-team roster on April 1 against the LG Twins. He then came alive in a three-game series against the KIA Tigers. In the last three games, Jung-hoon proved his presence to the fans at Sajik Stadium, hitting two RBI singles to help the team come back from behind. Fans applauded Jung-hoon for his return to form in the Futures League 메이저놀이터.
Han Dong-hee will need to come back with the same rejuvenation that her teammate showed. Lotte needs Han’s big gun instincts.
Meanwhile, Lotte will play a three-game home series against the KT Wiz from June 6-8 at Sajik Stadium in Busan. The starting pitcher for Lotte will be Park Se-woong.