“I wanted to focus more on the Doosan Bears.”
Kang Jin-seong (30-SSG Landers) was traded from Doosan to SSG on March 25. He had previously switched from NC Dinos to Doosan as a compensation player for Park Gun-woo. Doosan chose Kang because of the contact he made in 2020. He was a “sensation” in May with a 0.474 batting average, and went on to hit 0.309 for the season, helping NC win its first integrated title. He struggled in 2021, but was a card Doosan could have scratched.메이저사이트
But with Doosan, he batted just .163 in 40 games. He didn’t have a spot, and he couldn’t hit for himself. He couldn’t put down roots and SSG found him. He was sent to SSG to strengthen his right-handed bat, and he has performed well since the move. He is hitting 0.293 with an OPS of 0.813, which is reminiscent of 2020.
Especially in the 2023 KBO League regular season game against Doosan at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on the 22nd, he had a blast. Starting in the sixth spot in the batting order with junior Jeon Eui-san out with an injury, he went 4-for-4 with a home run, a walk, and two RBIs. The latter was the game-winning hit in the top of the fifth inning. It was his first three-hit game since June 10, 2021, against the LG Twins in Jamsil and the first four-hit game of his career.
SSG Landers and Doosan Bears play against each other during the 2023 KBO Baseball League baseball game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea, on April 22. SSG’s Kang Jin-sung celebrates after hitting a single to right field with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. Photo by Yonhap
When asked after the game, Kang said, “I didn’t expect to have the most hits in a game. I wanted to contribute to the team in any way I could since I was starting after a long time,” he said. He continued, “I wanted to focus more on Doosan because they were the opponent. I had a lot of hard times while I was at Doosan, but I think I became stronger inside. I wanted to focus more because it was Doosan, and I felt good (with the result).”
When asked about the hit, he said, “I’m usually weak against pitchers with side arms, but I got a chance to hit when I had a good balance. I thought that I might not get another chance like this, so I tried to swing the bat hard. I was lucky to get a double that went over the line.”
For Kang, the transfer was a turning point in his baseball career. He regained his hitting form at SSG, which he had struggled to establish at Doosan. “I’m a no-step hitter, but at Doosan, I couldn’t settle down and didn’t have the confidence to go back and forth,” he said. “When I came here, the coach told me to make yourself comfortable. It’s okay if you can’t do it, so just do what you want to do as comfortably as possible, and I felt like I got the feeling quickly.” “(The trade) was a turning point in my life. I was grateful not only to SSG, but also to Doosan for the support. I worked hard here with the mindset that I wanted to do it without regrets.”
Kang’s presence is expected to be a big boost for SSG, which is in a tight race for first place. On the same day, SSG removed first baseman Jeon Eui-san from the first team roster. He suffered a hamstring injury while fielding the previous day and will be out for more than two weeks. The No. 1 candidate to fill the void is Kang Jin-seong. But he doesn’t see it as a chance. “I hope (Jeon) San-do recovers from his injury soon. Rather than thinking that first base is my spot, I want to contribute to the team every day.”
His batting is showing signs of 2020, and so is the team atmosphere. “The feeling is similar to when we won the NC,” he said. The team atmosphere, culture, and harmony with my brothers are the same,” he said.