When Did Burrell Realize Lee Was MLB-Ready?

Giants Embrace Cultural Exchange in Welcoming Jung Hoo Lee

by Nouman Rasool
When Did Burrell Realize Lee Was MLB-Ready?
© Chris Coduto

Their biggest off-season signing, indeed the most talked-about, Jung Hoo Lee is yet to have a foot on an MLB diamond but the buzz in camp is quite positive. The Giants scooped the South Korean center-fielder in an enticing six-year deal worth $113 million—an indication of high expectations bequeathed onto the 25-year-old in the major league.

During a recent appearance on the "Murph & Markus" show at KNBR 680, Giants' new hitting coach Pat Burrell had this to say on a chat from Scottsdale Stadium as the squad readies for the season. Burrell admitted he was not sold with Lee's attunement to the rigid requirements of the big leagues and said his skepticism totally went out the window the first time he saw Lee hit in a batting cage.

"The first time I saw him actually move, I knew his transition would be easy," Burrell said, pointing out Lee's extraordinary contact-based approach and the athleticism he seems to be born with, which promises an easy adjustment to harder throwers in majors.

Building Team Bonds

The affability of Lee has already won him many friends in the team, led by fellow outfielder Mike Yastrzemski. Yastrzemski will be sharing the outfield with Lee and is even learning Korean phrases so he can talk to his teammate better.

There is more to this camaraderie than words, where Yastrzemski and others in the team have committed themselves to ensure Lee will feel at home in his new surroundings. Since the Giants acquired Lee from the Pirates on November 30, 2021, management and President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi, as well as Manager Bob Melvin, have really focused on finding a way to make Lee feel like he is part of the team's tapestry.

They've even gone ahead and tried to make his transition easier with regard to him settling properly both on and off the field—because an adjusted Lee may greatly uplift the form of the Giants. Yastrzemski only mentioned the game of baseball universalities and that they would help Lee to overcome the barrier.

He is already predicting now, seeing for himself all his talent and ease for the Giants in the field, what he expects to be a dynamic impact from Lee. And that's exactly what will await the Giants from Lee as they prepare for the season—an exciting, athletic blend of skill and infectious enthusiasm who might indeed be just what he needs to make the Giants go.