Traded behind Choi Ji-man → Call-up due to Judge injury → ML return after 2 years → 1st defense fence collision ‘unlucky Yankees outfielder’

 New York Yankees first baseman and outfielder Jake Bowers (28) returned to the big leagues after nearly two years. However, he suffered an injury while defending and had the misfortune of being replaced without even standing at bat.

On the 30th (Korean time), Bowers started as the 8th hitter and left fielder in an away game against Texas. Previously, ESPN, an American sports channel, said, “Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (31) felt discomfort in his hip joint, diagnosed MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and is waiting for the results. The Yankees are waiting for the results. We are preparing Bowers for this,” said the news of his call-up.

This season, Bowers appeared in 21 games in the Yankees’ minor league Triple-A, recording a batting average of 0.319, 9 homers and 20 RBIs. His OPS combined with his on-base percentage and slugging percentage reached a whopping 1.271. Yankees manager Aaron Boone (50) said in a local interview, “Bauers’ performance is enough to catch our attention,” and expressed his expectation, “Many officials, including me, are closely watching his performance.”

Bowers immediately stepped on the big league stage in a year and a half since October 2021, when he was in Seattle, in this game. However, in defense at the end of the first inning, after two shots, he pursued the batted ball of opponent hitter Adolis Garcia (30), slid and caught it, and hit his right knee against the left fence. He was put out with a fighting spirit defense, but eventually had to finish his comeback game without even standing at the plate, being replaced by Aaron Hicks at the defense in the bottom of the second inning.

Born in California, USA, Bowers entered the professional league after being selected by San Diego in the 7th round (208th overall) of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft. However, a year later, in December 2014, he was traded 스포츠토토to Tampa Bay, and in early June 2018, he made his major league debut.

Possible to play first base as well as outfield, he was evaluated as the ‘Tampa Bay next-generation first baseman’ with his batting power at the beginning of his big league debut. He appeared in 22 games for the month of June 2018 and had a batting average of 0.267 (20 hits in 75 at-bats). Of his 20 hits, 7 were doubles, 2 triples, and 2 home runs, giving his slugging percentage a whopping 0.493.

However, his performance began to decline after Choi Ji-man (32, now Pittsburgh) joined Tampa Bay. Choi Ji-man, who started the season in Milwaukee in the same year, was traded to Tampa Bay in mid-June. After a month of adaptation at Triple A affiliated with Tampa Bay, he returned to the big leagues on July 10th. Afterwards, Choi Ji-man competed in good faith with Bowers, alternating first baseman or designated hitter positions.

Choi Ji-man played 61 games that year, recording a batting average of 0.263, 10 homers and 32 RBIs. He also complied with an OPS of 0.862. After debuting in the major leagues with the Los Angeles Angels in 2016, he was able to settle down in the big leagues by recording the best results in the most games played in a season.

On the other hand, Bowers played in 96 games, more than Choi Ji-man, but ended the season with a batting average of 0.201, 11 homers, 48 ​​RBIs, and an OPS of 0.700. At the time, the Tampa Bay Times evaluated that “Bauers, who had a weak major league career, felt the pressure in the competition with Choi Ji-man and collapsed psychologically.” Tampa Bay traded Bowers to Cleveland after the season.

Bowers later moved to the Yankees after passing through Seattle and Cincinnati last year. He only played in the minor leagues in 2020 and 2022, but an injury in Judge forced him to join the major league roster. In an interview with the local media after returning to the big leagues, Bowers said, “I suffered from mental problems during my major league career, so I had a hard time.” It has happened,” he said.

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