Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Ji-Man Choi 토스카지노(32) has regained the feel of his punch.
Choi started the game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park in San Diego, California, U.S., on July 27 (KST), batting fourth and playing first base.
On this day, Choi stood tall as a senior in front of big league junior Kim Ha-seong (28-San Diego). With the score tied at 0-0 in the top of the second inning, Choi led off the inning with a sinker from starter Seth Lugo. The pitch took a 26-degree launch angle and traveled 384 feet (117 meters) at 101.7 miles per hour over the right field fence for his sixth solo shot of the season.
One out later in the fourth inning, in his second at-bat, he struck out swinging. In the top of the seventh, he led off with a big hit, but was robbed of a long ball by right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. In his final at-bat, in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded, he grounded out to third base on a full count. In the end, he finished 1-for-4 with a home run, one RBI and one run scored to help his team to a 3-2 victory. Her season batting average increased slightly to .188 from .183.
Choi Ji-Man hit his sixth home run of the season in front of junior Kim Ha-Sung. Yonhap/AP
Choi struggled to stay healthy this season, going on the 60-day disabled list (IL) with a sprained Achilles tendon. Upon his return, he was dropped from the starting lineup whenever a left-handed pitcher was available due to the platoon system.
Despite the inconsistency and lack of playing time, Choi has done his part. In 20 games, he’s batting .188 (12-for-64) with six home runs, 10 RBIs, and a .709 OPS. Despite his low batting average and slugging percentage, he has a .500 on-base percentage. Of his 12 hits this season, he’s hit eight long balls, including six home runs.
It’s especially encouraging to see him return to form so quickly after returning from injury. His monthly stats in July have been on track, with a .250 average (32-for-8), four home runs, eight RBIs, and a .942 OPS.
Choi Ji-Man (No. 91) celebrates with a teammate. Yonhap/AP
“It was a much-needed win for our team,” Choi told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after the game.
“I’m glad I was able to make the fans happy with a home run. The season is long and there are a lot of games left. We need to keep winning.”
The local reporters were curious about Choi’s fiery hitting. When asked about the “reason for the power surge,” Choi quipped, “If I knew that, I’d be a god,” adding his trademark knockout punch.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, is 45-57 on the season. They are 10 games out of the third wild-card spot (Cincinnati Reds, 56-48). It certainly doesn’t look easy, but if Choi keeps hitting, the team can dream of a rebound.
Can Choi’s long ball revitalize the team?