Lee Jung-hoo played as the first center fielder in the game against the Sacramento River Cats, the Triple-A team under his club, at Sutter Health Park in Sacramento, California, on the 25th (Korea time), and recorded one hit, one walk, and one strikeout in two times at bat. The result of the game is not included in the performance of the exhibition game, but it is a four-game hitting streak when combined with the recent performance of the exhibition game. Lee Jung-hoo, who suffered some pain in his left hamstring during the game against Cincinnati on March 14, showed off his injury-proof batting performance by recording two hits and one walk in two at-bats against the Los Angeles Angels on March 21 and two hits in four at-bats against the Chicago Cubs on March 23.

San Francisco Giants play with the River Cats every year before returning to the San Francisco Giants after their Arizona camp. It is on the way back, and it also provides a concept of service for River Cats fans. Although the game was against Triple-A on the day, many of its key players were listed in the lineup to check their conditions with fans. On the day, San Francisco Giants made batting order in the order of Lee Jung-hoo (center fielder), Austin Slater (designated hitter), Ramonte Wade Jr. (first baseman), Matt Chapman (third baseman), Mike Yastremski (right fielder), and Tyro Estrada (second baseman), Patrick Bailey (catcher) and Nick Ahmed (striker). Slater, who had been injured, returned to the lineup, and the rest of the players were considered key players this year, so the weight of the lineup was quite heavy.

The starting pitcher for the River Cats on the day was Mason Black (23), the starting resource that the team is looking forward to. He was drafted in the third round (85th overall) by San Francisco in the Major League Rookie Draft in 2021. He has been on the top single A list following Single A in 2022, and has been on the Triple A list through Double A in 2023. He performed well in 13 Triple-A games last year with three wins, four losses and a 3.86 ERA. Considering that the River Cats’ league is the Pacific Coast League, which is an extreme riding pitcher environment, it deserves a more generous score. During spring training, he played for a major league team and already met Lee.

Lee faced Black in his first at-bat, but struck out only. He had a good count fight with 2B-1S up to the third pitch, but was fouled on the high fourth pitch and foul on the fastball on the same course on the fifth pitch. He eventually swung and missed the 87.2 mile slider that was falling at the sixth pitch, and struck out with a strikeout.

After the game, the North American sports media “The Athletic” said that Black had two hits and no runs during three ⅔ innings against hitters in the Major League, adding that he had “one strikeout.” Then, he put the words “one strikeout” in parentheses and put Lee Jung-hoo’s name in it. It is hard to find such a notation in North American media. In other words, he praised Black for its competitiveness to the extent that he struck out Lee, who is known not to be easily struck out. You can realize that Lee is becoming a “reader” to measure a pitcher’s competitiveness. This is sufficient evidence that local media also acknowledge Lee.

However, he did not get hit in the second at-bat. Lee’s adaptability to a new pitcher can be praised. Lee also took the lead in the third inning as well. Watching his changeup become a strike, Lee hit a slider on his body for the second time, and hit a hit to the first base. He used his slider as the decisive ball again this time, but Lee hit a slider in a good course, showing that he did not get hit twice.

Lee Jung-hoo hit a wild pitch to the second base when the follow-up batter Austin Slater hit the batter’s box. When Slater hit a ground ball, he went to the third base, and when LaMonte Wade Jr. hit a grounder to the pitcher, he was caught in a rundown and was out. He had to play at the third base with one out, and the defense team responded well.

Then, Lee Jung-hoo took the lead again in the fifth inning when his team was losing 0-5, and drew a walk to complete his two on-base hits. River Cats pitcher Bertrand pitched mainly on breaking balls, but he escaped the zone, and Lee didn’t try to hit the ball too hard and drew a walk after catching the count in his favor. After the at-bat, Lee replaced Grant McClay, the pinch runner, to finish the game. He was supposed to play only three at-bats, and finished the game early on the day, and prepared for the game against Oakland on Wednesday. The River Cats won the game 8-1 in front of home fans.

Lee will now head to San Francisco where he will live. Before crossing the sea, he will stop by Oakland for a while. An exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics is scheduled to take place at 10:40 a.m. on Saturday (Korea time). It will take place at the Coliseum, the home ground of the team. At 9:05 a.m. on Tuesday, the team will move to Oracle Park, the home ground of San Francisco, and play against the team again. San Francisco and Oakland are two adjacent teams with a bridge between them. They play one game each year at their respective home stadiums before starting the regular season. As both teams are just around the corner, tension is different from that of the practice games in Arizona. Park Hyo-joon, a senior player who is aiming to join the team in a dramatic fashion, is waiting for Oakland. Attention is also focusing on whether Lee Jung-hoo and Park Hyo-joon will make a matchup successful.

And after taking a day off, he will play the long-awaited opening game of the 2024 Major League in San Diego on the 29th, where Kim Ha-sung is waiting. It is a four-game series in which Kim Ha-sung (San Diego) and Lee Jung-hoo, who were between the seniors and juniors of the Kiwoom team, will face off. Lee Jung-hoo itself is expected to draw great attention, but the San Francisco team itself, which strengthened its power a lot in the offseason, is also expected to pay great attention.

His performance at exhibition games was extremely good. Although he was the best hitter and MVP in the Korean pro baseball league, he has never played in the U.S.A. He is an unfamiliar environment, a strange pitcher, and a culture. Everyone needs time to adjust to the game, and this exhibition game was a very precious time for Lee regardless of his performance. His performance is good, however. This is why expectations are soaring for Lee.

BY: 스포츠토토핫

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