From tryout to contract to first team in just five days, why Lotte quickly found a home in Korea


Lotte’s somewhat stagnant batting lineup is about to get a boost, as the team has called up outfielder Kook Hae-sung (34) to the first team.

The Lotte Giants added Kook Hae-sung to the first-team roster ahead of their game against the NC Dinos in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO 스포츠토토 League on April 24 at Sajik Stadium in Busan. Instead, Lotte designated outfielder Shin Yun-hoo for assignment.

Kook Hae-sung joined Doosan in 2008 and played for the organization for 14 years before becoming a free agent in the Futures League after the 2021 season, but was unable to re-sign with Doosan, let alone move to another team. Kook Hae-sung, who has since played for the Seongnam MacPies in the independent league, attended a tryout organized by Lotte at Sajik Stadium on March 20 and received a contract offer the same day.

Lotte officially announced the signing on the 22nd, and Kook Hae-sung played in a match against Futures League Sangdong on the 23rd to get a feel for the game. On the 24th, Lotte called Kook Hae-sung into the first team roster. It took just five days from the tryout to the first team call-up. Lotte has high hopes for Kook’s bat.

Kook has only played 214 games in the first team, hitting .238 with 11 home runs and 66 RBIs, but he has always been recognized as a one-hit wonder. During his time at Doosan, it was difficult to get a spot in the starting lineup because of the thick roster.

For Kook Hae-sung, Lotte could be the land of opportunity. Of course, Lotte has plenty of outfield options, including Jeon Jun-woo, Jack Rex, Ahn Kwon-soo, Kim Min-seok, Yoon Dong-hee, and Hwang Sung-bin, but some of them have been plagued by injuries, and none of them have the same type of bat as Kook Hae-sung.

Lotte manager Larry Sutton said before the game against NC on the 24th, “We have some injuries in the outfield. It’s a good opportunity for both Kook and the team. I hope he makes good use of his strengths.” “We have a lot of lefties on the team. We don’t have a lot of depth in the right field. In the outfield, we only have Yoon Dong-hee. I expect her to fight to the end at the plate.”

“I’ve been excited since I was called up to the first team,” said Kook Hae-sung, “I came to the ballpark and trained with a new mindset. I think I have nothing to lose. I will do my best and show my best.”

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