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Kim Do-Young can’t be in Lee Jong-Beom mode every day

Kim Do-young (KIA Tigers) can’t be in Lee Jong-beom mode every day.

After playing only one at-bat against the Gwangju Doosan Bears on Thursday, Kim skipped the Gwangju Doosan game on Friday. It was the aftermath of being hit in the wrist by a Yang Ji-hyun (Doosan) pitch in his first at-bat on the 14th, but KIA had a “super backup” ready to go.

Hong Jong-pyo (24) is a right-handed-hitting infielder who graduated from Gangneung High School, was drafted in the 16th round of the 2020 second round, and completed his military service. He can play all infield positions except first base. He was called up to the first team on April 11 after a series of injuries to starting shortstop Park Chan-ho and his backup, Park Min-min, made him a natural fit.

Park recovered from a knee injury and is back in action in the Futures League. Lee Bum-ho, however, is in limbo. As of now, Hong Jong-pyo is the No. 1 all-weather backup in the infield. His defense is basically stable. And he can hit, too.

In his first start in a long time, Hong Jong-pyo went 0-for-3 in the second game of a doubleheader in Gwangju against the SSG Landers on Dec. 12. However, on the 14th, he went 1-for-2 with a walk in the second game against Doosan in Gwangju after being inserted as a pinch-hitter for Kim Do-young at third base.

On the 15th, he started against Doosan and went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs scored. He walked three times and scored twice, so he was 100 percent at the plate. On that day, Kia ended Doosan’s 10-game winning streak with an 8-4 victory. It was a tight game. Doosan’s offense has been so good lately.

Hong Jong-pyo’s contribution to the offense was a big help for the team. In the second inning, he pushed an outside fastball from Doosan sidearm Choi Won-joon for a single to left field, and in the fourth inning, he pushed the same fastball again for a 카지노 double to left field. He eventually scored on Na Sung-beom’s RBI single. In the seventh inning, he scored again with two outs and a walk. His defense at third base was immaculate.

In 20 games this season, Hong is 11-for-31 with a .355 batting average, four home runs, five RBIs, a .975 OPS, and a .375 slugging percentage. It’s a small sample size, but his hitting has improved this season. The fact that a left-handed hitter is producing hits to left field is an upgrade in itself.

Hong Jong-pyo will return to his spot when Kim Do-young returns. But he can also cover shortstop Park Chan-ho and second baseman Kim Sun-bin at any time. Kia’s infield backup isn’t just the reigning MVP Seo Gun-chang, but also Hong Jong-pyo. This is very encouraging as we head into the summer race. 

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