After ‘ordeal,’ Noh shakes off ‘fear’ of injury lingering, ready to rebound
“I was a little scared because I didn’t come back at 100 percent.”
Lotte Giants infielder Noh Jin-hyuk was a “model free agent” until May this season. He was more than adequate at the plate, batting .287 (39-for-136) with three home runs, 22 RBIs, seven doubles, and an OPS of .800 in 43 games, while also playing solid shortstop defense.
On June 15, however, his batting average plummeted after he complained of left lateral soreness during batting practice. An MRI diagnosed a simple sprain, which thankfully didn’t lead to a major injury, but it kept him out of the first team for nearly three weeks and forced him to rehabilitate.
After returning to the first team on May 5, he struggled to find his groove. He went just 2-for-20 with one RBI in six games before the All-Star break, and after starting the second half on the 21st, he was silent for 11 at-bats until the 25th against the Jamsil Doosan. He also struggled with his batting average, which dropped to 2.24 on the season.온라인바카라
Noh started to rebound on the 26th against Jamsil Doosan. With his team tied 0-0 in the top of the second inning, he lined a two-run double off Doosan native ace Kwak Bin for his first hit of the second half.
With the count down to no balls and two strikes, he took a three-pitch 150-kilometer fastball from Kwak-Bin and had the good fortune to see it land in front of the left-field fence, making Noh and Lotte smile.
Lotte snapped a three-game losing streak with a 7-2 victory over Dusan after Noh’s two-run double put the game out of reach. Noh added another hit in the top of the sixth inning to end the day on a high note with a multi-hit performance.
After the game, Noh admitted that he was psychologically shaken up by the second-inning opportunity. “When it was two strikes, I thought, ‘Why am I going through this again?” he said. “Fortunately, it turned out well and I was able to be more aggressive in my next at-bat,” he breathed a sigh of relief.
As for his batting slump at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half, he admitted that it was the aftermath of a side injury. “When I came back (from injury), my body wasn’t at 100%. I was a little scared of my batting balance because I was a little sore,” he said, emphasizing, “I struggled with my balance and timing, and I think I need to work on it.”
However, Noh is well aware of his position in the team and Lotte’s situation as they continue to fight for the top five. He vowed to recover his form and make a contribution.
Lotte’s batting lineup has been slumping as a whole, so it’s important for Noh to regain the offensive firepower he had in the first half of the season. The new foreign hitter Gudrum is having a hard time adjusting to the KBO, so Noh will need to give him a boost.
“For the 27th game, Doosan will be starting Choi Won-jun. I’m strong against side-armed pitchers, so I think I’ll have better results,” he said. “I was good in the beginning of the season, and in the second half of the season, I suffered psychologically because I wanted to do better, but I hope I will suffer less in the future.”