The Doosan Bears’ first batting/pitching practice of spring training echoed around the grounds of the Sidri Blacktown Baseball Stadium in Australia. It was ‘captain’ Yang Seok-hwan, who didn’t want to miss a single play.

The Doosan team, led by manager Lee Seung-yeop, used live batting practice to check their physical condition. The pitchers faced seven batters each, throwing three pitches per batter, while the fielders, including Yang, batted and fielded.

Yang stood out the most. Against the first pitcher, Park Jung-soo, he pulled three pitches and launched a home run to left-center field. He was the only player in the lineup to hit over the fence.

Against the second pitcher, Kim Min-kyu, Yang pulled the first pitch for another big hit. It was a fly ball to left field, but Yang was in great form.

Yang Seok-hwan, who started at first base for the fifth pitcher Kim Yoo-sung, also made his presence felt on defense. Hong Sung-ho hit a ball toward the first baseman, but Yang made a solid catch, drawing applause from his teammates.

Yang also energized the team like a captain. When second baseman Kang Seung-ho grounded into a double play in the sixth inning against pitchers Baek Seung-woo and Lee Yoo-chan, Yang livened up the atmosphere by shouting, “I’m the highest paid non-free agent.”

“Today (Nov. 11) was my first live batting session, so it’s natural that I didn’t hit well. (The result) doesn’t mean much, but I think I felt good because I hit some good pitches,” Yang said. “I think I’ve hit a home run before (during live BPs), but overall, I think I had a good balance today.”

“It doesn’t mean anything if I hit 10 home runs in 10 at-bats (in the live BP) because it doesn’t do anything good, but it’s better than constantly fouling off pitches or swinging wildly. It’s a positive thing to go into camp feeling like that,” he added.

On his role as a “mood maker” when he was out at first base, he said, “Actually, defense drills can be boring in some ways, and it’s a tough time, but if I can say a word or two and make the players smile and lighten up, I think that’s something that can really liven things up. I’m not doing anything extra because I’m the captain, I’m just doing what I always do.”

Yang added, “I emphasize that part more because the Beasts are very introverted. I intentionally tell them to shout out their fight. “If you don’t have that time, you can’t help but be timid, and I think it carries over to the baseball field. Baseball players 바카라사이트 need to be able to get angry when they’re angry, and I wish younger players would be more active in expressing that.”

Yang has been on an upward curve since being traded from the LG Twins to the Doosan Bears ahead of the 2021 season. After a successful 2021 season in which he batted .273 with 28 home runs, 96 RBIs and an OPS of .827 in 133 games and 488 at-bats, he reached the 20-homer plateau for the third straight year in 2022 and last year. He perfectly fills the void left by Oh Jae-il (Samsung Lions), who left the team as a free agent after the 2020 season.

Yang, who became a free agent after last season, signed a 4+2-year contract worth up to 7.8 billion won ($7.8 million) with his hometown team Doosan. The first four-year contract is worth up to 6.5 billion won (2 billion won in signing bonus, 3.9 billion won in total salary, and 600 million won in incentives), with a two-year, 1.3 billion won mutual option that can be triggered by agreement between the club and player after the four-year contract.

After signing a free agent contract, Yang also took on the important role of team captain this season. “It’s my first season under contract and my first time as captain, so I want the team to do well this year more than anyone else. “My goal is always 30 home runs and 100 RBIs,” he said. “I’d like to do that before I retire. I’d like to do it before I retire, but it’s a really difficult number in Jamsil. Now, I think I should prioritize the team’s performance more than my personal goals,” he said encouragingly.

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