From minor league to independent league to LG, Oh’s simple goal is to “not be seen as a backup”

A second chance to finish the season injury-free.

LG infielder Son Ho-young returned from injury and made a splash with a home run in his first first-team game of the season.

Son started at shortstop in the No. 9 spot against Lotte in Jamsil on April 24. Lotte’s starting pitcher that day was left-hander Barnes. LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop gave his main shortstop, Oh Ji-hwan, a day off to prepare for the left-handed starter and sent Son Ho-young to the field immediately after his call-up.

Son led off the second inning with runners on first and third. She hit Barnes’ first pitch for a three-run home run over the left field fence. He didn’t miss a 128-kilometer changeup to center field.

After the game, Son said, “I was lucky because my hitting coach, Lee Ho-joon, gave me some feedback. He advised me to time my changeup. It was a bad pitch in the middle of the plate.”안전놀이터

After Son’s three-run blast, the LG bats scored three runs in the third and two in the fourth to put the game out of reach and cruised to a 9-1 victory behind Plutko’s six-inning no-hitter.

Son made his first appearance of the season nearly three months after suffering a thigh muscle injury in an exhibition game in late March. It was her first appearance in the first team 84 days after opening day. It was LG’s 70th match of the season.

[OSEN=Jamsil, Reporter Ji Hyung-jun] The game between LG Twins and Lotte Giants in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ was held at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on the afternoon of June 24.LG’s Son Ho-young celebrates after hitting a leadoff triple in the second inning. 2023.06.24 /jpnews@osen.co.kr

Barring injury, Son’s season is looking rosy. In manager Yoon Kyung-yup’s season plan, Son was to be utilized as a backup shortstop to Oh Ji-hwan and an infield utility. ‘Backup starter’. The rest of the season will give him a chance.

Son appeared in 36 games last year as a backup second baseman and shortstop, batting 2-for-5 with 19 doubles (74 at-bats), three home runs, 14 RBIs and a .741 OPS. Just as he was getting more playing time, he fractured the back of his hand while sliding in a game in late July and is out for the season.

No stranger to injury. In 2014, Son signed with the Chicago Cubs to play in the United States. But it wasn’t easy. He played in the Rookie League in 2014 and Single-A in 2015, but a shoulder injury sent him back to the Rookie League in 2016. He was eventually released in March 2017.

After returning to Korea and completing his military service, he was discharged and continued to play baseball with the Yeoncheon Miracle in the independent league in 2019. As he gained experience in the independent league, he entered the 2020 KBO League Rookie Draft in the summer of 2019. He was selected by LG in the third round of the second round (23rd overall).

LG’s Oh Ji-hwan and Son Ho-young practice defensive drills at a camp in Arizona, USA, in February. / OSEN DB

During Son Ho-young’s rehabilitation period, head coach Yeom Kyung-yeop mentioned Son’s name occasionally when discussing his plans for the season.

After the game on the 24th, Son Ho-young said, “When I saw (the article), I thought I should do well and get better quickly, but I was so passionate that I got injured once more. I didn’t feel any pressure, and I thought that the coach believed in me, so I had to live up to his expectations.”

When asked about his goals and resolutions for this season, Son Ho-young said, “It’s the same thing I said at the beginning of the year. I’m going to do my best to fill in for my brothers and not stand out, to play and not lose games, and to work hard behind the scenes (as a backup).”

At the Arizona spring training camp in February, Son Ho-young said, “There is no such thing as a goal. My first goal is to not be anxious when I travel in place of (Oh) Ji-Hwan, and to not show up too much even if I’m not perfect like Ji-Hwan. I haven’t thought about anything else.”

He also expressed his desire to “finish the season without getting injured” for the remaining half of the season.


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