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Lee Seung Yeop Resumes Training After Injury

Posted December. 24, 2007 06:27,   

한국어

“The year 2008 will be Lee Seung-yeop’s best year.”

Lee Seung-yeop (Yomiuri) embarked on the “41+α Project.” As the project title indicates, it is designed to help him break his single-season home run record of 41 in the Japanese pro league.

The 31-year old Korean baseball star will start physical training in a gym near his hometown of Daegu in South Korea on Boxing Day. It has been two months since he had his left thumb de-stitched after surgery.

“He starts training this year some 20 days later than the last year. But he’s in pretty good condition. He will be back to full strength by the end of next January,” said Oh Chang-hun, the chief of the gym Lee will exercise in.

Before joining Yomiuri’s Miyazaki training camp in February, Lee will keep training on his home turf. The goal is to strengthen his muscles, with the main focus on his abdominal and back muscles, to maximize the impact of his batting. To reduce the burden to his knees, he plans to drop 2 kg of weight from his current 97kg. He will start batting training in mid-January in Gyeong-buk High School, where he graduated.

Lee faces fierce competition for the cleanup spot next season. In addition to his teammates Abe Sinnosuke and Ogasawara Michihiro, who recorded over 30 homers this season, respectively, Yomiuri recently signed Alex Ramirez, a star batter of the Yakult Swallows.

Since he joined the Japanese pro baseball league, Lee hit 14 home runs in 2004 and 30 in 2005 for Lotte, and 41 in 2006 and 30 this year after he moved to Yomiuri. The rising trend of his home run record dipped this year due to injury. But Lee aims to resume his position as the fourth batter and contribute to the Japan Series trophy drive of his team next year.

“Next year will be the best of Lee’s career,” anticipated Oh. “He has completely recovered from his left hand and knee injuries. If he successfully finishes his abdominal muscle training, I believe he can hit more home runs than his 2006 record of 41 and set the home run title next season.”



beetlez@donga.com