Kiwoom’s super-strong trust in ‘Lee Yong-kyu’s leadership’ continues to accompany the first division despite the cancellation of the entry
Kiwoom Heroes manager Hong Won-ki expressed his unwavering trust in outfielder Lee Yong-kyu, the team’s oldest and captain. Lee Yong-kyu stressed that he will continue to accompany the team and lead the team, although he is absent from the first-tier entry for a while.
Lee Yong-kyu was removed from the first-tier entry on the 21st. While his batting sense slowed down with a batting average of 0.133 (6 hits in 45 at-bats) in 14 games he played in August, he seemed likely to move to the second division to reorganize due to his poor condition.
However, Lee Yong-kyu is still training normally with the first team players. According to KBO rules, he cannot stay in the dugout during the game, but he plays a role in leading the team as a captain.
Head coach Hong Won-ki says Lee Yong-kyu’s cancellation of the entry and poor performance are not related. He explained that he had no choice but to call up pitchers as the first game of three consecutive games during the week against the Doosan Bears on the 22nd and the last game of three consecutive games on the weekend against the Samsung Lions on the 27th inevitably went on “Bulpen Day” due to mound conditions.
As there is no problem with Lee Yong-kyu’s physical condition, he has set up a plan to put Lee Yong-kyu in the first-tier regular league game at any time after the 31st when he can re-register the first-tier entry.
Head coach Hong Won-ki said ahead of the match against Doosan in Gocheok on the 23rd, “Lee Yong-kyu continues to accompany the first-tier players, so no other player will take on the temporary captain,” adding, “Lee Yong-kyu is in the entry for a while due to team circumstances.”
Kiwoom originally assigned Lee Jung-hoo to captain this season. However, Lee Yong-kyu, the oldest player, took over the captain’s heavy responsibility as Lee Jung-hoo was out of the season due to an injury at the start of the second half.
Lee Yong-kyu did not perform as well as expected in batting with a batting average of 0.230 (35 hits in 152 at-bats) and an OPS of 0.582 with 11 RBIs and two steals in 49 games this season. However, Kiwoom coaching staff believes that a veteran is essential to help young players stay at the center of the team’s composition.
Kiwoom is currently ranked 10th, making it virtually difficult to advance to the postseason. It is focusing on operations that look at next year rather than this season. It is trying to catch both rabbits, maintaining team chemistry, while providing a wide range of opportunities for young players with potential to play.
Coach Hong Won-ki said, “Lee Yong-kyu is a leader who plays a central role in the players, and he will continue to be with us without going down to the second division,” adding, “I will also accompany him on an expedition to Daegu this weekend.”
“We need to see the situation when Lee Yong-kyu is registered in the first division, but we continue to prepare for games such as training and move with existing first-tier players,” he said, expecting Lee Yong-kyu’s leadership.