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Lee Jung-hoo hits first home run at MLB exhibition game

Posted March. 02, 2024 07:48,   

Updated March. 02, 2024 07:48


Lee Jung-hoo of the San Francisco Giants and Go Woo-seok of the San Diego Padres, friends of the same age and brothers-in-law, delivered impressive performances side by side in a Major League Baseball (MLB) exhibition game, raising expectations for their upcoming regular season. In the exhibition game, Lee hit his first home run, while Go pitched a scoreless inning in his debut appearance. Go, married to Lee's younger sister, who is one year his junior, in January of last year, has become the son-in-law of former LG coach Lee Jong-beom.

In the exhibition game against Arizona on Friday, Lee Jung-hoo commenced as the leadoff hitter and center fielder. He showcased an impressive performance, recording two hits and one RBI in three at-bats. Right from his first at-bat, Lee displayed a sharp swing. During the top of the first inning, he successfully connected with a curveball thrown low toward his body by the opposing starting pitcher, Line Nelson, turning it into a double to right-center. Notably, he executed a dynamic swing with the ball count at two strikes.

In the top of the third inning, during his second at-bat, Lee drove a batted ball over the fence. He skillfully pulled Line Nelson's fastball, which clocked at 94.7 miles per hour, sending it over the right-field fence. This marked his first home run in an official U.S. game, achieved in only his second appearance in an exhibition game. The home run's batting speed was measured at 109.7 miles, with a launch angle of 18 degrees and a hitting distance of 418 feet. Lee's hit was closer to a line drive. He reflected on the game and said, "I knew I hit it well, but I didn't expect the ball to fly low and clear the fence. I thought it would be a second or third base hit, so I kept running."

Nelson pitched three innings, and Lee was the only batter who managed to secure a hit against him. Nelson tallied five strikeouts and allowed two hits, both of which were credited to Lee. Notably, Lee was the sole member of the team to achieve multiple hits on this day. Nelson, who served as Arizona's 5th starter last season with a record of eight wins and eight losses, faced questions from a local reporter about whether he had received any advance information about Lee. Nelson responded, "I didn't receive any information at all, but now I know that he is a pretty good player. He hits all fastballs well." San Francisco coach Bob Melvin also expressed satisfaction after the game, noting, "Lee Jung-hoo is hitting both fastballs and breaking balls well." Despite Lee’s impressive performance, San Francisco experienced a 1-2 loss that day 2.

With hits in two consecutive games, Lee achieved an impressive batting average of 0.500 (three hits in six at-bats) in the exhibition game. In his first appearance in an exhibition game against Seattle on Wednesday, Lee recorded one hit in three at-bats. Commenting on his experience facing MLB pitchers. "MLB pitchers not only throw fastballs, but they are also tall and have a high release point, making fastballs look faster. The movement and trajectory of the ball are also different," Lee added. "I worked hard to adapt to the MLB pitchers' balls over the past winter, and I'm glad that the results have paid off." To adjust to the high release points of MLB pitchers, Lee Jeong-hoo has been practicing hitting by increasing the height at which the ball bounces off the pitching machine.

Bo-Mi Im bom@donga.com