‘Request to be released’ Manager Lee Kang-cheol thanks departing home run king

“I hope it’s a good trade for each other”

The KT Wiz extended their winning streak to four games with a 12-3 victory over the Doosan Bears in the seventh game of the 2024 Shinhan Bank SOL Bank KBO League at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Monday.

KT ended the previous week on a high note with a ‘three-game winning streak.’ However, before the game, there was news that shook up the team’s atmosphere. Park Byung-ho, the ‘home run king’, requested to be released from the team after the game on the 25th, despite his extreme slump, and was sent down to the second team. As the team struggled to rebound, it was a stab in the back to the club that had signed him to a three-year, 3 billion won free agent contract.

Before the game on the 28th, Lee Kang-cheol said, “When I looked at the players, they weren’t shaken. Our players’ mentality is so strong,” and KT seemed to be unfazed by the Park Byung-ho release controversy. Moon Sang-chul, who started at first base and batted fourth, put on a ‘one-man show’ with five hits and five RBIs in five at-bats. Park Byung-ho’s absence was not felt at all. Mel Rojas Juner was 2-for-1 with a home run, two RBIs, four runs scored, and two walks, and Kim Min-hyuk was 1-for-2 with two RBIs and two walks.

With so many runs coming from the bats, the mound did its part as well, with “Ace” William Cuevas earning his third win of the season with a quality start (6 innings, 3 earned runs or less), throwing 91 pitches, allowing one run (1 earned) on three hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts in six innings. Sung Jae-heon (⅓ innings, 2 runs), Son Dong-hyun (⅔ innings), Joo Kwon (1 inning), and Woo Kyu-min (1 inning) followed to preserve the lead.

After the game, Lee said, “Cuevas pitched well in the first inning. Rojas hit a leadoff home run to give us the early lead in the game. The bats came out strong early on and that was the key to our success. All the guys who came up with the big innings worked hard. Congratulations to Moon Sang-chul for breaking the record for the most RBIs in a single game. We are grateful to our fans for their passionate support all the way from home to the end of the game,” said the victory.

The win extended their winning streak to four games and closed the gap to SSG Landers to one game, but after the game, all eyes turned to the trade. This is 스포츠토토 because KT used Park Byung-ho, who recently requested his release, as a trading card. It was a no-brainer for KT, who had nothing to gain by releasing Park, and within a short period of time, they found the right player for him. It was Oh Jae-il.

Oh and Byung-ho Park share a lot of similarities. Both are the same age, born in 1986, and both have been struggling lately after signing free agent contracts. Park was struggling with a .198 batting average with three home runs in 44 games this year, while Oh was batting .203 with 64 hits and 11 home runs in 106 games last year, and this year, after spending some time in the second team, he continued to disappoint with a .234 batting average with three home runs in 22 games. As a result, he was selected as Park’s opposite number.

Speaking to the media after the game, Lee Kang-cheol said it wasn’t a good way to say goodbye, but he praised Park Byung-ho for leaving the team. It was a great tribute. “I hope (Park) Byung-ho goes to Samsung and gets a lot of opportunities and does well,” he said, “I’ll have to think about how to use (Oh) Jae-il, but he’s a left-hander, so I’ll take turns when (Moon) Sang-chul is tired. I hope Byung-ho can go and do well, and I hope Jae-il can come and do well. I hope it’s a good trade for each other,” he said.

Meanwhile, KT manager Nado Hyun added, “Oh Jae-il is a left-handed batting resource that the team needs, and we expect synergy in the batting lineup as we can operate the team’s lineup in various ways.”

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