“My inexperience is a bit of a drawback.”
Ryu Joong-il’s (60) worries have been realized. After the early withdrawal of South Korea’s best hitter Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom) due to injury, the news of the last-minute withdrawal of Koo Chang-mo (NC), who had raised the possibility of joining the team, has been confirmed.
The Korea Baseball Softball Association (KBSA) Performance Enhancement Committee and the KBO Power Enhancement Committee announced today that “out of the 24 members of the baseball team for the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, we have decided to replace two players who are injured or in the process of recovering from injuries, but are deemed to be unable to perform normally during the Games”.
Outfielder Lee Jung-hoo and left-hander Koo Chang-mo will be dropped and replaced by Kim Young-gyu (NC) and Kim Sung-yoon (Samsung).
South Korea’s national baseball team has won three consecutive gold medals, starting in Guangzhou in 2010, Incheon in 2014 and Jakarta-Palembang in 2018.
If they didn’t win a gold medal, they were criticized. South Korea was the only country with professional-level players. Even the gold medal in 2018 became a social issue because of the special military service issue, and a skit was staged in which coach Sun Dong-yeol, who has the right to select the team, appeared as a witness in a national audit.
This time, things have changed somewhat. The KBO has changed its player selection criteria to prevent the Asian Games from postponing the KBO League schedule while also giving players a chance to play in future international competitions.
Players must be 24 years old and in their third year of professional baseball, and wild card players must be 29 years old. However, given that the tournament was postponed for a year due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), an exception was made for players aged 25 or younger and in their fourth year of professional baseball.
Coach Ryu Jung-il was concerned about the players’ lack of experience. Speaking to Star News earlier, Ryu said, “First of all, we didn’t pick the best players from the KBO League, but we set an age limit. It’s a bit of a flaw that the players don’t have enough experience,” he said, “They don’t have much international experience and Lee Jung-hoo is missing. We are also watching Koo Chang-mo and Lee Yi-ri.” 메이저사이트
Lee’s replacement had been expected for some time. In July, Lee was substituted after feeling pain in his left ankle while defending against Lotte and was diagnosed with a damaged extensor ligament (the membrane that wraps around the ankle tendon) after a medical examination. With an expected rehabilitation period of only three months, Ryu was struggling to find a replacement.
To make matters worse, Koo Chang-mo was diagnosed with a left forearm muscle injury and a fatigue fracture in his left arm. He pitched two scoreless innings in a recent Futures (second team) league game, throwing a ball up to 145 kilometers per hour, but it was decided that he needed to be replaced. The decision was made that he was not fit enough to pitch on the international stage.
Lee Jung-hoo is arguably the best hitter in Korea. His absence is even more painful as he proved that he is ‘internationally ready’ by performing beyond expectations at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March. Koo Chang-mo also played in the 2017 APBC and the 2023 WBC. When healthy, he was rated as one of the best pitchers in the country, but once again, he was hampered by health issues.
Their replacements have also made huge strides this season.