Lately, SSG fans have been wincing and breathing a sigh of relief when a player makes a hustle play. While there are some fans who don’t like hustle plays, SSG fans hope that this player is not one of them. Ha Jae-hoon (33, SSG) is one of those players.
It’s related to injuries. Just when he thinks he’s going to be good, injuries hold him back, and they all stem from hustle plays. In a practice game in Okinawa before the season, he injured his shoulder in defense and had to rehabilitate for a long time. After returning from the shoulder injury, he broke his finger while stealing a base in the NC on June 11 and went to rehab again. It’s no wonder that fans are freaked out by the sight of him throwing his body.
In fact, Jae-hoon is still a player who should (or shouldn’t) be wary of head-first sliding. The coaching staff, including SSG head coach Kim Won-hyung, always emphasizes caution. “I don’t know why I do it or don’t do it…” he says with a wry smile, “I don’t think I can distinguish between when to do it boldly and when not to do it.” The reason is mainly due to his history of shoulder injuries.
This is mainly due to his history of shoulder injuries. When I fractured my shoulder, the doctors cleared me to exercise, but they were adamant that I not do any head-first sliding for a while. There is still a risk of re-injury. Ha knows this, but he scratches his head, saying he can’t overcome his instincts.
“After I make a head-first slide (in defense or on the basepaths), I always think, ‘Why did I do that?'” he says with a wry smile, but adds that it’s just the way his body reacts. “I’m not as good as I was when I was younger because my feet are slower and my kicking power is weaker,” he said bitterly. He said, “I’m not as good as I was when I was younger because my feet are slower and my kicking power is weaker than when I was younger.” He added, “I’m not as good as I used to be because I don’t have enough time to get to the base.
But Ha’s baseball has always been a game of instinct, where passion overrides reason. He’s played a game where he’s not afraid to put his body on the line or risk injury if he thinks it will help his team. This has led to numerous injuries in his career, but paradoxically, it is also the keyword that dominates Ha’s baseball.
After making his league debut in 2019 and showing off his baseball talents with a surprise 36-save season, Ha struggled with shoulder injuries and pain. He eventually switched to the outfield before last season. It was the last straw for his baseball career. After a year of rebuilding his body as a hitter, Ha was named the “Most Improved Beast” ahead of the season, much to the delight of the coaching staff and fans alike.
It was a result of overcoming a grueling schedule. Ha was one of the earliest players to start training among the first team last year. When Choo Shin-soo, 41, who is also known for his early start, was out on the field sweating it out, he would silently spin his bat on the sidelines. He didn’t get many first-team appearances last year, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t physically demanding. Nevertheless, after the season, he joined Geelong Korea in Australia for a mini-season.
It was a tough time for him, as he developed a skin disease that didn’t normally occur, and his physical strength and immunity decreased. But Ha had some fun, too. In fact, he was more confident in the field. When he tried out for the KBO, he showed off his quick feet, strong power, and strong shoulders. He was forced to play pitcher due to team needs, but he still wanted to be a beast, and it’s no wonder he’s so motivated now that his shoulder injury has given him another chance.
In fact, it was his ability to be a beast that sent him to Triple-A. In the 2012 Futures All-Star Game, he hit a dominating two-run shot off Gerrit Cole (New York Yankees), now the most expensive pitcher in the majors. Even though he never made it to the majors, he’s probably happiest now that he can swing a bat without being judged.
I put in a ton of work in the off-season to wake up that DNA. I was worried that he would wake up from his injury and go back to sleep, but fortunately, a lot of those awakened cells were still alive. As of May 31, Ha is batting .328 with three home runs, nine RBIs, four doubles, and a .966 OPS in 21 games this season. He’s humble enough to admit that he’s “still a work in progress,” and it’s a small sample size, but considering it’s only been a little over a year since he transitioned back to hitting, the phrase “talent is talent” comes to mind.스포츠토토
He proved last year that he can hit the ball over the fence. This year, he’s proving that he can be a more sophisticated hitter. He has improved his ability to handle 2S after striking out at a high rate last year. His stolen base rate is good, and he is gradually returning to the player he was then, including his defense in center field.
“It’s not good enough,” he says, but he smiles softly, saying, “It’s still better than last year in terms of offense, defense, and defense.” For an athlete in his mid-30s, it’s been a long time since anyone dared to say, “Next year will be better than this year”. That’s what makes Ha so special.