“I’ll come back with confidence!” Han Dong-hee, who is leaving the U.S. to meet Kang Jung-ho, had strong support for “Joseon’s No. 4 hitter.”

He literally went back and forth between heaven and hell in a year. Han Dong-hee, who was drafted first by the Lotte Giants in the rookie draft in 2018, spent his career-high season with 140 hits, 14 homers, 65 RBIs, 43 RBIs, and a 0.307 OPS 0.817 batting average in 129 games last year. It was the moment when he began to break the egg in 2020, and finally his potential exploded. But this joy did not last very long. It was because he had the worst performance since he took the lead in 2020.

Han Dong-hee has the best batting speed ever in the KBO league. The fact that the batting speed is high means that it produces many strong hits. Therefore, as long as the batting angle increased, the team made a bold transformation to take advantage of this advantage as it could amplify the number of home runs. Efforts to improve and not be complacent were certainly worthy of praise. However, the problem was that performance did not follow.

Han Dong-hee appeared to succeed in transformation by posting 10 hits, two homers and a batting average of 0.370 in 11 exhibition games this year. However, he only posted a batting average of 0.169, staying in two homers during the month of April. He seemed to regain batting sense with a batting average of 0.278 from May, but his performance plummeted from June, reducing his chances to play at the end of the season. What was comforting was that he had a good batting average of 0.308 in 11 games in October.

After the end of this season, Lotte made a big change by replacing all of its coaching staff including general manager and head coach. In the process, Kim Tae-hyung, the “master general” who led the Doosan Bears to the Korean Series for the first time in the KBO League history, took the helm. In an interview with My Daily immediately after taking the helm of Lotte, Kim singled out Han Dong-hee as the most anticipated and bothered player. In the first meeting with the team, he touched Han Dong-hee on the cheek.

Along with manager Kim Tae-hyung, two more players felt sorry for Han Dong-hee’s lackluster performance. It was Lee Dae-ho, dubbed the “Joseon’s No. 4 hitter,” and Kang Jung-ho, who previously played for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kang pointed out Han’s problems through his YouTube channel during the season and expressed confidence that he could fix them. Lee Dae-ho, who had taken care of Han since he was an active player, even sent him a “love call” after the season ended. Lee’s love call was to train together during the offseason.

Han Dong-hee, who received love calls from both Lee Dae-ho and Kang Jung-ho, said in October, “No decision has been made yet, but if we train together, I think we should do it with (Lee) Dae-ho,” adding, “Dae-ho said, ‘Let’s work out together this winter. If we can go abroad for a month, let’s go out and exercise together, or if we can’t, let’s do it in Busan.” He said, “I’m very grateful that you’re a ‘broadcaster’ now, so I’m sure you’ll take time even though you have a lot of schedule.” 슬롯머신

And this promise has come to reality. Back then, Han Dong-hee chose Lee Dae-ho as his off-season training partner, which provided him with an opportunity to train together with Kang. Lee Dae-ho suggested going to the U.S. to meet Kang Jung-ho, who runs a training center in the U.S. with Han Dong-hee. This shows how horrible Lee thinks of Han Dong-hee.

Han Dong-hee, who contacted My Daily, said, “I recently met (Lee) Dae-ho several times and talked to him. Dae-ho also said, “There is nothing to change in terms of technology. I think I just need to have confidence. If you exercise in a warm place, your body can rise further, so let’s do that,” and suggested going to the U.S. “Kang Jung-ho has shown me a lot of interest so far, and I’m going to talk about it there.”

Han Dong-hee is not the only one on the plane to the U.S. with Lee. Just like Han, he will also be joined by Jung Hoon, a “Jukmagou” who had a difficult year this year. Notably, Lee Dae-ho will pay for the upcoming training camp in the U.S., which costs tens of millions of won (tens of thousands of U.S. dollars) for the training. Lee is the result of the hope that his favorite juniors will learn a lot from Kang. He will also leave all technical advice to Kang and focus on mental care for his juniors.

Han Dong-hee said, “In the past, I start exercising after taking a break for a week or two after the season is over, but this year I started exercising immediately without a break. As a result, Dae-ho said, ‘It’s different to working out in Korea and working out abroad. It will have a refreshing effect,’ so I was able to take about 10 days, so I went to the U.S. I was really touched by your time.”

What has this season been like for Han Dong-hee? “In the beginning, I struggled to get out of the slump. I wasn’t in a situation where I could look back, but I looked back only after the season was over. My performance was not good, but I think I gained more,” he said. “Now, I think I’m thinking, ‘Let’s do it all over again.’ Coach Kim Tae-hyung really cared a lot during the closing camp. And what the coach told me is working out well. While working out, I gained a lot of confidence about the 2024 season.”

What does Han Dong-hee want to gain after meeting Kang Jung-ho with Lee Dae-ho’s strong support? “I will work out with Dae-ho and Jung-ho, and listen to many stories to establish myself and gain a lot of confidence,” Han said.

Lastly, Han Dong-hee teased, “Daeho is very busy because he is doing a broadcast,” but said, “Thank you so much for allowing me to work out for a long time and in a good environment. Usually, when you retire, you don’t get to pay attention because of other schedules. I really appreciate it, and I have a strong desire to become a person who can take care of my juniors when I become a player like Daeho.”

Will Han Dong-hee, dubbed the “post Lee Dae-ho,” be able to make a revival with the support of the “Idol” Lee Dae-ho? What is clear is that there is nowhere else to fall. Now, there is only one thing left to go.

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