The Doosan Bears catcher’s back hasn’t been feeling great lately. It’s even more concerning that he’s been getting substituted at the end of games. Doosan fans are also the ‘Willie Bears’, so they are even more worried. “Take my back, take my back” is a common chant among Doosan fans.바카라사이트
Yang has been one of the best hitters on the team this season, batting .321 with 72 hits, seven home runs and 36 RBIs in 68 games. His success has come in the difficult conditions of batting in the centre of the order while wearing a catcher’s mask.
However, the Doosan bench will also need to be concerned with his fitness and injury prevention, given his age – he was born in 1987. This is especially true as Yang has been complaining of back pain recently.
On 30 June against the Lotte Giants in Ulsan, Yang was replaced by Jang Seung-hyun in the bottom of the ninth inning after batting first in the offence. Back discomfort was the reason for the substitution. In the end, Doosan suffered a bitter defeat as the game went to extra innings.
Even during the game, Yang was already feeling back pain. Despite playing until the ninth inning because of his responsibility, he was forced to retire to the bench.
Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop spoke to reporters ahead of their game against Ulsan Lotte on 1 July and said, “Yesterday, Yang-ji’s back was not feeling good from the middle of the game. At the end of the game, he told me that he felt tired, so I took him off the bench. It was an unavoidable choice because it could affect his participation in today’s game.” “I think Yang-ji is the driving force behind the pitching staff’s success this season, so I want him to wear the catcher’s mask as much as possible,” he said.
Yang also wore the starting catcher’s mask in the first game of the day as he felt a great sense of responsibility with the task of ending the losing streak. He partnered with Kwak Bin for a six-inning shutout. At the plate, Yang went 3-for-3 and scored the game’s first and final run with a single in the top of the first inning. In the bottom of the ninth, with runners on second and third, he drove in Chung to seal the win. The victory was made possible by Yang Ji, who wore a catcher’s mask.
Kwak Bin, who picked up his seventh win of the season, said, “I’m just thankful that I usually share the battery with (Yang) Ji-won. It’s a great honour to play with the best catcher in Korea. And even though he has a bad back, he still wore the catcher’s mask today for the team. I hope my teammates and I can emulate his dedication,” he said, giving a thumbs-up.
Yang also basked in the joy of escaping the losing streak. When he got the final out in the ninth inning, he showed his emotions with a fist-pumping ceremony with Chung Chul-won.
Yang said after the game, “It was a tight pitcher’s duel for the second day in a row, so I was only thinking about how to focus and end the losing streak. I’m glad that I was able to help break the losing streak with three runs,” he smiled.
“I know the Doosan fans are worried about my back,” Yang said, “but they’ve been really good about taking care of it. The team takes great care of it in training, so I can focus on my game. I think the only way I can repay their support and worry is to play as many games as possible and help the team win,” he said.
With the 2-1 win, Doosan snapped a two-game losing streak and remained in sixth place in the league with 34 wins, one draw and 36 losses on the season. Doosan sits between the third-place NC Dinos (2.5 games back) and the ninth-place KIA Tigers (2.5 games back). Their performance in the remaining 10 games of the first half of the season will determine where they finish in the standings.
“We have 10 games left in the first half of the season, and we will do our best to accumulate as many wins as possible,” Yang said encouragingly. More importantly, Yang Ji’s back condition will have a major impact on Doosan’s performance in the second half of the season. It will be interesting to see if Yang can finish the first half of the season healthy and head to the All-Star Game at Sajik Stadium.