On the 19th, SSG Landers catcher Lee Jae-won안전놀이터 was canceled from the first team entry. Instead, third-year catcher Cho Hyung-woo was called up. Manager Kim Won-hyung explained, “It was a decision made with the players and the team in mind.”

Naturally, Min-sik Kim became the main catcher. Since the opening of the regular season, the situation has not been very good as there has not been a single multi-hit game. Kim Min-sik, who had a sense of responsibility and burden, erased the team’s worries with two hits in two consecutive games.

SSG won 3-1 in the first game of the season against Kiwoom Heroes of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League held at Incheon SSG Landers Field on the 21st and won two consecutive victories.

Starter Kim Gwang-hyeon, who formed a battery with Kim Min-sik, became the winning pitcher in the return match after 13 days.

Kim Min-sik, who started as the 9th hitter and catcher, showed off a neat defense before his first at-bat. In the 3rd inning, the ball thrown by Kim Gwang-hyun from 2 out and 1st base bounced, and in the meantime, runner Lee Yong-kyu from 1st base jumped to 2nd base. Kim Min-sik, who quickly caught the ball, threw to second base, and shortstop Park Seong-han caught Lee Yong-gyu with a tagout. The innings ended just like that.

The bat also turned terribly. Kim Min-sik, who hit the first ball in the first at-bat and stepped back with a ground ball, scored a heavy hit in the second at-bat in the fifth inning, aiming for the fifth pitch of opponent starter Ariel Furado after a 5-pitch game.

In the 7th inning, with one out and second base, he hit a hit toward the middle right and brought second base runner Choi Kyung-mo home.

Kim Min-sik’s final score was 3 at-bats, 2 hits and 1 RBI. After the NC Dinos game on May 15 last year (3 hits) and the Doosan Bears game on the 17th (3 hits), he achieved multi-hits in two consecutive games in 339 days. He also maintained a two-run lead by working with the pitchers until the ninth inning without substitution.

There is no experience as a starting catcher at all. There have been quite a few high-profile roles, including in 2017 when he wore a championship ring for the first time since his professional debut. However, there is a difference between having a catcher and not having a catcher to carry the burden together.

If both Kim Min-sik and the team want to ease the burden, the best scenario would be for Lee Jae-won, who was sent down to the 2nd team, to come back with a good body and mind. Until his return, Kim Min-sik has to wear a catcher’s mask for a long time. Attention is focusing on whether Kim Min-sik will contribute to the team’s upward trend.

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