(Choi) Because I’m close to Hyungwoo. I made a bet on who would do it longer (laughs).”월카지노주소
Doosan Bears catcher Yang Eui-ji (37) has not come down from the top position for 14 years this year. After graduating from Jinheung High School, he joined Doosan in the eighth round of the second rookie draft in 2006, and took the lead in 2010. He hit 20 home runs that year, solidifying his image as an offense and defense catcher, and was honored with the rookie award in his fifth year as a professional. Since then, he became Doosan’s irreplaceable home turf and became the first FA after the 2018 season, signing an unprecedented four-year contract worth 12.5 billion won with the NC Dinos, which surprised him. In the second FA after the 2022 season, he signed a total of 15.2 billion won for 4+2 years with his former Doosan, once again establishing his position as the league’s best catcher. 15.2 billion won was the highest ever in FA history, and it was unusual that the second FA amount was larger.
Yang Eui-ji maintained top-notch skills even after returning to Doosan. He had a batting average of 0.305 (134 hits in 439 times at bat), 17 homers, 68 RBIs and an OPS of 0.870 in 129 games. Even when he had to play while taking care of his injury at the end of the season, Yang did not let go of his catcher’s mask. When Kim Jae-hwan, the cleanup hitter, couldn’t get out of the swamp where he suffered severe slump last year, Yang Eui-ji took over the task of the cleanup hitter instead. He still has skills to lead pitchers as a catcher that no longer needs explanation. He became the first winner in the new defense award that the KBO established last year, and became the eighth catcher’s Golden Glove in his career, becoming the most valuable catcher ever. When including the designated hitter Golden Glove that he received in 2021, he became the ninth winner among his team.
Yang Eui-ji never misses the title of “best in the league,” but still looks further up. For this reason, he is mentioning Choi Hyung-woo (41), a big shot of the Kia Tigers. Ahead of this season, Choi signed a multi-year, non-FA contract with Kia for a total of 2.2 billion won (2.2 million U.S. dollars), including one plus one year contract, 2 billion won in annual salary, and 200 million won in option. He is the oldest multi-year contract ever made, and this year’s annual salary of 1 billion won is the highest among Kia’s domestic players. Even after finishing the season last year due to a major injury, Choi proved that he is still in his prime with a batting average of 0.302 (130 hits in 431 times at bat), 17 homers, 81 RBIs and 0.887 OPS.
“I think I was treated for granted because (Choi) Hyung-woo is good at Kia,” Yang Eui-ji said at the Black Town Baseball Stadium in Sydney, Australia, where Doosan
s spring camp is taking place on Tuesday. "I dont think there is any player who plays better than Hyung-woo except for (B) Sung-bum in KIA. So I made a bet with my brother. Because we are close. Who do you think will play baseball longer than me?” he said with a smile.
Yang Eui-ji said, “This year, both teams and individuals should perform better than last year.” Doosan marked a new beginning with its manager Lee Seung-yeop taking over the team last year after falling to ninth place in 2022. Doosan succeeded in reaching the semi-finals by ranking fifth in the regular season, but was eliminated from the fall baseball in just one game, leaving a deep regret.
Yang Eui-ji said, “Good team performance is more important than my individual performance this year. I got a taste of fall baseball last year when I ranked fifth, but I think we should make more efforts there. To do better, I need to develop the power to catch one or two games that I could not catch last year. I think veterans who receive a lot of money, including myself, should do well in order to get good results. That way, I can lead younger friends. But he can’t even take care of his own rice bowl right now. I think if the seniors do well and lead the team, they will get better results.”
This year’s goal is to become the fourth hitter again. Of course, I don’t plan on quitting the race just because I’m old. It’s because professionals speak with their skills regardless of age.
Yang Eui-ji said, “Of course, I think I should hit the fourth batter. If (Kim) Jae-hwan doesn’t feel pressured, Jae-hwan will hit the fourth and I will hit the third or fifth batter, and if Jae-hwan feels a little uncomfortable, I think I will hit the fourth batter. If it’s not good for me, I’m going to go to the bottom batting order. Anyway, the coach will decide. They will test the batting order a lot to see if it’s the best way. I just have to prepare accordingly.”
He also has a desire to hit a bigger ball this year. He recorded 17 home runs last year, breaking the 20-home run trend for five consecutive years, which had been going on since 2018. Yang Eui-ji said, “Last year’s performance itself is not a shame. The baseball field has grown a lot, and NC had Park Min-woo, Park Gun-woo, and Son Ah-seop who rank first, second, and third in on-base percentage. I think I was worried about things like that when it was critical and didn’t play a lot, but my pace got a little slow. I had a good pace in the beginning, but my thoughts got complicated because I didn’t play against myself.”
Doosan has the best catcher named Yang Eui-ji, but also has to prepare for the next generation. Lee emphasized the growth of backup catchers this year. Jang Seung-hyun, Ahn Seung-han and Kim Ki-yeon are fiercely competing in the Sydney camp.
Regarding the situation where the team is waiting for the second Yang Eui-ji, Yang Eui-ji said, “I think I have to work hard to help my younger brothers and grow them. Rather than just doing my own thing, I think I need to help them a lot so that they can improve their skills. Also, I think our young guys can go to other teams and get the starting lineup. I don’t think they can do well. It’s just a little disappointing because there are expectations. Honestly, I can’t do well every year. Since I didn’t do well last year, I just need to fill that part and make sure that I can do well this year.”
I’m waiting for my juniors to grow further, but I don’t plan on giving up my seat easily. Yang Eui-ji said, “I said I was satisfied, but last year’s performance was disappointing. I think I still have the power to do more. I don’t think it’s time to say that I got older. Even as I get older, I can play like (Lee) Dae-ho the best.