He batted .342 at RYU as a Lotte player… His best friend, who is the same age as him

Hwang Jae-gyun (37-KT Wiz), who was a formidable opponent for Ryu Hyun-jin (37-Hanwha Eagles) during his time with the Lotte Giants, is set to face off against his best friend on his return to Korea after 12 years.

‘Korean Monster’ Ryu Hyun-jin has returned to the KBO after 11 years in the U.S. Major League Baseball.

Ryu signed an eight-year, 17 billion won ($17 billion) contract (including an opt-out – the details of the opt-out were agreed upon by both parties) with his hometown Hanwha on March 23. This is the highest multi-year contract in the KBO, surpassing the previous record of 15.2 billion won for 4+2 years for Doosan Yang-ji. It also surpassed Kim Kwang-hyun’s four-year, 15.1 billion won deal when he returned to the KBO in 2022 after playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Under the deal, Ryu will start this season at 37 years old and will be able to play in a Hanwha uniform until he is 44 years old (2031). If Ryu fulfills his contract, he will make Korean professional baseball history by surpassing Song Jin-woo’s record of 43 years, 7 months, and 7 days as the oldest player to play in a game.

Ryu joined the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball through the posting system prior to the 2013 season. The system requires players who go overseas to return to their original team when they return to Korea, so Ryu became an Eagle again.

Ryu, who is eligible for free agency after the 2023 season with the Toronto Blue Jays, was unable to get a satisfactory offer in the local market due to his injury history and age. Since last month, he has been consistently linked to multiple teams in need of starting pitching reinforcements, including the San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, and San Francisco Giants, but the rumors have only grown. Baltimore, which recently lost two starters to injuries, was mentioned as a possible destination, but that was just a rumor.

His return to Hanwha began to gain momentum when a media outlet reported on Nov. 19 that Ryu had decided to ship his belongings from his Toronto, Canada, home to South Korea. Soon after, news broke that Ryu had agreed to return to Hanwha, and the two sides worked out the details of the terms and finally made it “official” on Nov. 22. On the morning of the 23rd, Ryu departed for Hanwha’s second spring training camp in Okinawa, Japan, via Incheon International Airport Terminal 2.

Hwang Jae-gyun, a ‘close friend’ of Ryu’s who heard about his return from Busan Gijang, the first spring training camp, said, “(Ryu) is a great player, a good player. I think having a player like him back in Korea will make the KBO more popular. I think it’s a good direction for Korean players. “Hyun-jin has never played against KT before, so it’s a good move for Korean players. I think it will be fun for both KT and Hanwha fans to watch,” said Kim, who welcomed his friend’s return after 12 years.

Hwang Jae-gyun said that before the announcement of Ryu’s return, he was in regular contact with Ryu in Korea and even had a meal with him. “I’m in contact with (Ryu) often, but we didn’t talk about the contract. We just talked about things like, ‘How are you doing,’ and ‘When 카지노 is the contract coming? Hyun-jin must have been stressed at the time, and I didn’t want to add to his stress.”

Hwang Jae-gyun was a strong hitter against Hyun-jin in the KBO, batting 2-for-8 with 13 RBIs in 45 at-bats. After struggling to hit 1-for-6 with the Hyundai Unicorns and 1-for-6 with the Heroes, Hwang went 2-for-3 with three RBIs in 13 at-bats with Lotte, where he went 3-for-6 with two RBIs and a walk in 26 at-bats.

Hwang Jae-gyun said, “I think I hit in the low 20s against (Ryu) Hyun-jin. I remember him hitting often,” which is pretty much the actual data.

However, recent memory is not good. In 2017, when he was with the San Francisco Giants, he went 0-for-2 against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Hyun-jin Ryu.

“Seven years ago, I was young, and Hyun-jin was young. Hyun-jin had a really good ball then, and he made fun of me with his unique way of speaking and facial expressions,” Hwang said, laughing as he recalled his time in the United States.

“If I hit well this time, I’ll make fun of him, and if I don’t hit well, he’ll make fun of me. If I hit well, he’ll tease me, saying, ‘You can’t do it anymore because you went to the U.S.,'” Hwang said, expressing his excitement for the matchup with his best friend.

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