Hanwha Eagles head coach Choi Won-ho shared his thoughts on infielder Ha Joo-seok, who is nearing the end of his suspension.
Ha was caught in a drunk driving crackdown at 5:50 a.m. on Nov. 19 last year while participating in the team’s 꽁머니지급 final training session in Daejeon. His license was suspended with a blood alcohol content of 0.078%, and he was punished with a 70-game suspension according to KBO rules. His salary was also cut by 50.2 percent, from 290 million won to 100 million won.
At the time, Ha reflected on his drunk driving and said, “I would like to bow my head and apologize to everyone in the baseball world for the trouble I caused with my drunk driving incident. I would like to say again that I am very sorry with an even heavier heart for the fans who have loved Korean professional baseball. I was unable to control myself and acted in a stupid way, tarnishing the honor of all baseball players and setting a bad example for my juniors as the captain of the team,” he apologized.
About seven months later. Hanwha will play its 70th game of the season on Nov. 28 against KT, and Ha will be eligible for either the first or second team from then on. Ha hasn’t participated in any reserve team practice games and has been training privately. The team has not used him in any non-official practice games, considering that recent practice games with universities and independent baseball teams have been broadcast live on social media and posted in photos.
When asked about Ha ahead of the game against KT on the 28th, the first day of the week when Ha can return to official games, Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho said, “Actually, I can’t deny that Ha’s defense at shortstop is top-notch. If he can play, there’s no reason not to play him. He has the best defense in the team, and if you look at the KBO League, he has a top-class defense.”
The only problem is that Ha hasn’t played since November. Choi said, “He needs to play after his suspension is lifted. I think he needs to take some time to see what it’s like to play for the Futures, so I think he needs to take some time. The defense is actually a little shorter than I thought. My batting is a little bit shaky after eight months. I can’t keep up with fast balls. I don’t have a feel for it. If you look at the defense, it might be quick, but it’s hard to play full-time right away. You have to go through the process of playing five innings of defense, get a day off, then play nine innings a day, get a day off, and so on.”
Another prerequisite is the club’s approval. While a manager’s sole goal is to win, and using good players is the best way to achieve that 토토체험머니 goal, there are many other considerations, such as the moral and ethical responsibility to the baseball world and the image of the club.
“If you think you can play defense, you have to talk to the club,” Choi says. If you’re ready to play in the first team and the club is okay with it, then you can use it. If one or the other doesn’t work, you can’t use it. If it’s both, you can use it in the short term. If the weather is good and we play the Futures game, it could happen sooner than we think, and if it rains and we don’t play, it will be later,” he said.