Lee Young-ha (27, Doosan), a 17-win ace of the previous year, will head to the mini-camp of the Yomiuri Giants, a prestigious Japanese team, to make 2024 the year of revival.
Lee and Kim Bum-soo from the same agency will depart for Miyazaki, Japan on Thursday and participate in a mini-camp held at the Yomiuri Giants’ facility for about two weeks. Before the spring camp, Lee chose prestigious Yomiuri pitchers who are considered one step higher than the KBO League as his training partners. Among them is Togo Shosei, the Yomiuri ace who won the Central League’s strikeout award in 2022 and a member who won the 2023 WBC (World Baseball Classic).헤라카지노
With his return to the first team last year, Lee Young-ha expressed his desire to exercise with Japanese players before spring camp to Jung Chang-yong, CEO of Team Futures. CEO Jung was a person who translated when Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop and Lee Dae-ho were active in Japan in the past, and Lee Young-ha and Kim Bum-soo participated in the Yomiuri Mini Camp using their wide connections in Japan.
Lee Young-ha, who contacted OSEN on the 2nd, said, “I originally like Japanese pitchers, but I wanted to see them throw the ball themselves while exercising together. The CEO of the agency knows a lot about Japan, so I’ve been telling him my intentions since I returned to the first team last year,” adding, “I didn’t prepare well last year, so I want to start this year for sure. I will show you a different side.”
Lee Young-ha of Doosan / OSEN DB
Lee had many conversations with Yomiuri pitchers including Shosei Togo, imagining the scene where he received so-called “honey tips.” “As they are said to be good pitchers in Japan, I would like to talk about their mindset on the game and how they deal with batters. I want to absorb their strengths rather than learning anything in particular,” Lee said.
Lee Young-ha, who was first selected by Doosan in the 2016 Rookie Draft, won his first 10 games in 2018 and reached his prime with 17 wins, 4 losses and a 3.64 ERA in 29 games in 2019. At that time, he joined the Premier 12 national team and received great attention as a right-handed ace who will lead Korean baseball in the future.
However, that was the last time for him to be honored. Although he was rarely able to find a position in one position, he frequently moved between starting and bullpen, and made a name for himself as a winning pitcher in the fall with Hong Gun-hee in 2020, Peace was also briefly involved in the Me Too incident of school violence during the 2021 spring camp, causing a fatal mental injury.
Eventually, Lee was caught up in a school violence trial and could not digest the 2023 spring camp. However, he was acquitted after a lengthy legal battle, and returned to the first team in June last year, where he played all-weather roles in the bullpen, including long relief, pursuit and must-win teams. Thanks to his steady personal training during the trial, he was able to join the Doosan bullpen immediately.
The reason why Lee Young-ha decided to train overseas for the first time since his debut is to regain his glory as a 17-win ace in 2019. To this end, Lee Young-ha prepared for a Japanese mini-camp at a baseball academy run by Lee Jae-young, a senior at Sunlin Internet High School, after the 2023 season, and plans to take a two-day break after the Miyazaki training and head to Sydney, Australia as a spring camp starter.
“I always lose pace in spring and summer, but I throw well in fall. This time, I want to start training early and show good performance from the beginning of the season,” Lee said. “I took about four days off after the 2023 season and continued to throw balls. I got a lot of help from Lee Jae-young. I think throwing balls here will be very helpful in Miyazaki.”
Lee, who has been familiar with bullpen sessions, has also set a new goal of starting competition for the 2024 season. “Positions are decided by coaches and coaches, but I will prepare with the mindset that I will unconditionally be a starting pitcher until exhibition games are over after spring camp. If I fail after competing, I have no choice. Even if it doesn’t work, I want to give it a try,” Lee expressed his strong determination.
“When I throw at the Australian spring camp, I would like to hear ‘I didn’t go to Japan for a reason. I will throw hard so that everyone can think like this,'” Lee said, raising expectations for the revival of the ace with 17 wins.