KT Wiz outfielder Kang Baek-ho, 24, is expected to return to the first team in the second half of the season.
Kang is currently training with the reserve team. He joined the team on March 27 and played one live game on March 1. He went 0-for-4 with a walk and an RBI against the Hanwha Eagles. KT plans to bring Kang back to the first team through the Futures (second team) league once it is determined that he is physically and mentally ready. The KT Futures will enter the All-Star break with a game against the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Commerce) scheduled for Dec. 12 in Mungyeong, North Gyeongsang Province.
KT manager Lee Kang-cheol met with reporters after the LG Twins game in Jamsil was canceled due to rain on the 4th and said, “Kang Baek-ho is currently training and playing in the reserve team. He plans to move up to the first team through the Future League, so it won’t be easy to see him in a first-team game within the first half of the year.”
Unlike last year, when he was plagued by injuries and slumps, Kang got off to a fast start this season. It helped that he moved back to his natural position of outfielder from first base, where he was burdened with defense. He maintained a triple-digit batting average until the end of April.
However, on May 18, he was criticized by fans for playing lax defense during a game against the LG Twins in Jamsil. He then went through a difficult time mentally and his performance declined. In June, his physical condition plummeted, and he also suffered from a cold. On June 9, he was removed from the first team roster and placed on the injured list (IL). After being placed on the IL 안전놀이터 once more, he resumed training at the end of last month.
The KT coaching staff plans to give Kang plenty of time to recharge and reorganize. They plan to work on his defense, which is one of his weaknesses, as well as his offense. After this process, it will be beneficial for both the team and the individual to return to the first team fully prepared, including maximizing his practical experience through Futures League matches.