Lotte Giants manager Larry Sutton urged Han Dong-hee (24), who was sent down to the second team, to return with a healthy mindset.
“He needs time, and he needs to mentally let go a little bit,” Sutton said in an interview before the game against the Kiwoom Heroes in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Aug. 8, talking about Han Dong-hee’s demotion to the second team.
Lotte removed Han Dong-hee from the first team roster on July 7 and called up Seo Dong-wook to the first team the same day. Han, the starting third baseman this season, has struggled at the plate, batting just 2-for-55 (254 at-bats) with four home runs, 28 RBIs and a .569 OPS in 77 games. In his last 10 games, Han has gone just 1-for-7 (23 at-bats) with one RBI.
The poor hitting has also affected her defense. In 65 games (513 innings) at third base, Han committed seven errors, resulting in a .945 fielding percentage.
Sutton said, “Dong-hee Han has struggled this year in terms of hitting. She went through a cycle in the middle of the season where she seemed to get better, but it wasn’t consistent, so I think she needs to work a little bit more on her directional hitting from shortstop to right field rather than just going down to the second team and pulling. When playing defense, I want her to separate her offensive and defensive mentality, so that even if she is not doing well in the offense, she will be focused when playing defense,” explained Han on why he sent her down to the first team.
“When she’s feeling good at the plate, she has good strike zone control and is a hitter who consistently hits hard regardless of the outcome,” said Sutton, who emphasized, “I want her to find her groove again. I’d like to see her come back with a little more development in her solid strike zone control area.”
Han showed promise last season, batting 3-for-7 (140-for-456) with 14 home runs, 65 RBIs and an .817 OPS in 129 games. He was expected by fans to be the next big thing to lead Lotte, replacing Lee Dae-ho, who retired from active duty last year. This season, however, he struggled throughout the season and left a lot to be desired.
Sutton said, “I think there was a lot of stress and pressure when Lee Dae-ho retired and I went into the No. 3, 4, and 5 center field with the expectation of ‘post-Lee Dae-ho’. Hitters seem to be overthinking under the pressure to do better when they should simply go for it when their cycle drops,” said Han, diagnosing Dong-hee’s slump. “As I said before, we are hoping for the best Han Dong-hee, not the ‘post-Lee Dae-ho’. However, there are a lot of people comparing Lee Dae Ho and Han Dong Hee, and there are a lot of things they read and hear, so I think Han Dong Hee can’t help but think that way,” he lamented.메이저사이트
Rather than jumping straight into the first team after 10 days, Han will have plenty of time to prepare. “She needs time,” Sutton said. She needs to get the training volume right. Time will tell, and it’s important to bring her up when she’s ready,” Sutton emphasized.