While men’s soccer is kicking off its Asian Games group stage early, baseball hasn’t even finalized its roster yet.
That’s because of the injury bug.
With Lee Jung-hoo out due to ankle surgery, left-handed pitchers Koo Chang-mo and Lee Yi-ri are among the variables.
Reporter Park Soo-joo.
In June, the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) announced a 24-man roster that will attempt to win a fourth consecutive Asian Games title in Hangzhou.
However, due to a string of injuries, the final roster was not finalized until less than two weeks before the first game of the qualifiers.
The only confirmed replacement is Kiwoom outfielder Lee Jung-hoo, who underwent ankle surgery in late July.
Samsung’s Kim Hyun-jun is being considered as a possible replacement.
The biggest variable is NC left-hander Koo Chang-mo.
He joined the team as a 25-and-over wild card and was expected to be the national team’s ace starter, but has been rehabbing for more than three months with a left arm injury.
Cho Kye-hyun, chairman of the KBO’s power-enhancement committee, is making every last effort to get Koo Chang-mo back on the field, including personally watching him pitch in a Futures League game in Iksan, Jeollabuk-do, on Sept. 19.
After last weekend’s game was canceled due to rain, Cho instead checked on the bullpen pitching with national team manager Ryu Joong-il, whose average velocity was in the low 130s at the time.
But in the game on the 19th, Koo upped his fastball to 145 kilometers.
In two innings, he threw 27 pitches to seven batters, allowing one hit, striking out two, and no runs.
Another left-handed starting pitching candidate, KIA’s Lee Yi-ri, is also subject to a final check.
He was removed from the first team on October 10 due to a blister on his finger, which the team is reportedly concerned about “possible recurrence.안전놀이터
Once he’s recovered from the injury, Lee Yi-ri plans to pitch at least three innings against Hanwha on the 21st.
After discussing the replacements on Wednesday (20th), the Power Enhancement Committee plans to announce the final roster this week, subject to the approval of the Korea Baseball Softball Association’s Performance Enhancement Committee and the Korea Sports Federation.
The team will finish their KBO games by Friday (22) and will hold their first training session on Saturday (23).