“If I’m ready, I’ll use it.”

When will shortstop Ha Joo-seok (29-Hanhwa) return to the field. Ha was caught in a drunkenness crackdown in the early hours of November last year in Mocher, Dong-gu, Daejeon. He was suspended with a blood alcohol content of 0.078 percent. The KBO’s punishment committee suspended him for 70 games under Article 151, ‘Impairment of Dignity’. At the time, Ha posted a handwritten apology on his personal social media account. As of July 27, Hanwha had played 69 games. In principle, they can return to play on the 29th. This raises questions about his future.안전놀이터

Ha was drafted by Hanwha in the first round (No. 1 overall) in 2012, and as his high ranking suggests, he was highly touted as a big-time prospect early on. He played consistently and established himself as a starter. By last year, he was batting .266 (2720-for-723) with 48 home runs in 786 games in the first team. He also posted double-digit home runs in 2016, 2017, and 2021. Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho said, “Ha can hit, but he’s also very good defensively. He is one of the top players in the entire KBO.”

Photo via Newsis

It’s natural to want to use resources that have the skills. Moreover, the team’s situation is not easy. Lee Do-yoon, the current starting shortstop, has no full-time experience. Off-season free agent Oh Seon-jin is injured and rookie Park Jung-hyun is out of the lineup. The problem is filling the void. Ha hasn’t played a competitive game in the last eight months. He has only been training with the reserve team, including live batting. After he completes his suspension, he will play in the Futures (second division) league to get his feel for the game.

The conditions for the call-up are clear. You have to be fit enough to play. However, the timing may vary depending on his focus. “Eight months is a long time,” says Choi Won-ho. It will be difficult for him to deal with fast balls because his senses are off,” Choi said. “If you look at the defense, he might be ready a little faster. He can’t play the full nine innings from the start. You have to start with five innings and work your way up,” he said, adding, “When I think I’m ready, I’ll talk to the club.”

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