“Your feet are faster.”
Joo-hwan Choi (35, SSG Landers) 메이저놀이터shrugged his shoulders at a word recently handed over by Jae-il Oh (36, Samsung Lions).
Choi Joo-hwan, whom we met at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on the 22nd, said, “I worked hard on weight training and flexibility training during the off-season. The test results showed that my actual body age has gotten younger.” “I feel that my body has improved in defense and running. The ‘elasticity’ when grabbing and falling has also changed,” he said.
Then, on the 13th, he told an anecdote about the Daegu Samsung Lions match.
At that time, Joo-Hwan Choi hit a ground ball toward the shortstop in the top of the 5th inning, then sprinted to make an infield hit.
Samsung first baseman Oh Jae-il was surprised by Choi Joo-hwan’s efforts and said, “My feet have become faster.”
Choi Joo-hwan said, “I played with Jae-il Oh for a long time at the Doosan Bears. The senior who knows me best.”
After the end of the 2020 season, Joo-hwan Choi qualified as a free agent (FA) and signed a contract with SK Wyverns (predecessor of SSG) for up to 4.2 billion won (down payment 1.2 billion won, total annual salary 2.6 billion won, option 400 million won) for 4 years.
However, Joo-Hwan Choi struggled with a batting average of 0.256, 18 homers, and 67 RBIs in 2021, and a batting average of 0.211, 9 homers, and 41 RBIs in 2022. Big and small injuries plagued Choi Joo-hwan.
During the off-season, Choi Joo-hwan tried to develop ‘flexibility’ and ‘strength’ at the same time, and started the 2023 season with a healthy body.
He also trained his lower body at a training center used by track and field athletes.
SSG coach Kim Won-hyung, who confirmed Choi Joo-hwan’s health, selected him as the starting second baseman this season.
Choi Joo-hwan was confident, “I defend second base with a much lighter body than before. The range of defense has also expanded.”
As he became confident in his health, Choi Joo-hwan’s strong hitting power also came back to life.
On the 22nd against Incheon Kiwoom Heroes, Choi Joo-hwan grabbed Choi Won-tae’s 145 km/h two-seam fastball and crossed the right wall in the bottom of the second inning with no runners 2 out 0-0.
Choi Joo-hwan’s batting average is still not high at 0.241 until the 22nd, but his slugging percentage is 0.414, which is 2nd in the team and 22nd overall.
He connected 6 out of 14 hits with long hits (2 home runs, 4 doubles).
Choi Joo-hwan said, “I want to complete this season with a healthy body. I am confident.”