Lee Jeong-hoo (Kiwoom), who was out of season, and Koo Chang-mo (NC) and Kang Baek-ho (KT), who are far from returning to the first team. In a situation where the core resources considered as core are not intact, will the baseball team be okay for the Hangzhou Asian Games with a month or so left? The baseball team led by coach Joong-il Ryu will go to the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, which will open next month. Starting with the 2010 Guangzhou Games, Korean baseball, which won gold medals at the 2014 Incheon and 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games, is aiming for a fourth consecutive gold medal.
However, ahead of the tournament, several bad news continued for the national team. Last June, the final entry was confirmed early, because injured people are coming out. Of course, as the players are currently playing the season, it is inevitable that injuries will come out. However, the story is different if the injured are those who were considered key players of the national team, not others. The biggest leak is Lee Jung-hoo. Lee Jung-hoo suffered an injury last month that damaged the extensor zone of his left ankle, and was on the operating table. As the rehabilitation period alone is expected to be three months, participation in the Asian Games as well as the season out is certain.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) has decided to set an age limit for the national team from this Asian Games. It was initially set at 24 years old, but was raised to 25 years old when the Hangzhou Games were postponed for a year. Lee Jung-hoo, who spans the age cutoff, was considered a key player in the national team along with Ko Woo-seok (LG). Lee Jung-hoo, who has been performing at the top of the league regardless of age, is missing, so there is no substitute. Kim Hyun-joon (Samsung), Yoon Dong-hee, and Kim Min-seok (above Lotte) are being discussed, but it is difficult to expect as much performance as Lee Jung-hoo, no matter who is selected.
And that’s not all. It is also unclear whether other two key pitchers, Koo Chang-mo and Kang Baek-ho, will participate in the Asian Games. Koo Chang-mo went down the mound after throwing 5 balls in the game against LG on June 2nd. Later, he was diagnosed with micro damage to the forearm (between the elbow and wrist) flexors, and in late June, the condition deteriorated due to a stress fracture. He underwent a rehabilitation course for over a month, but was diagnosed that his physical condition was not perfect in the recent reexamination. From next week, he plans to enter the ITP (Interval Throwing Program), but there is no promise of actual pitching. He expects that the schedule will come out only after watching the progress of ITP.
A healthy Koo Chang-mo is a left-handed starting pitcher competing for the top spot in the league, but it is questionable whether he will be able to play in the Asian Games healthy. He is a pitcher who was considered the ‘ace’ of the national team, so the blow is great. 안전놀이터 Kang Baek-ho is also in a bad situation. After taking a break for about a month after June, he returned at the end of the first half and played 8 games, but was eliminated from the first team entry again. He decided he wasn’t ready to play yet. Kang Baek-ho, who is exhausted physically and mentally, has not played in the 2nd team game after the expulsion of the 1st team. Since he does not have any particular sore spots, there may be no problem with his participation, but it is unclear whether he will be able to perform as expected.
Recently, starting pitching agent Na Kyun-an (Lotte) also went down to the second team due to a hamstring injury. He’s expected to return sooner or later, but an injury nearing a tournament doesn’t bode well. In addition, outfielder Choi Won-joon (KIA) is hardly rebounding with a low batting average of 2.4 pennies, and another starting agent Park Se-woong (Lotte) is shaking as a losing pitcher in the last 5 consecutive games. Kim Hyeong-jun (NC), one of the two catcher entries, is also spending time only in the second team after his injury. This is because the team, which is in a fierce battle for ranking, does not have the ability to be promoted to the first team.
As unexpected variables popped up one after another, it became inevitable that the power originally conceived would be disrupted. The baseball team is taking on a new challenge with young players who are the future of the KBO. However, it seems that the voice of concern is getting louder as it creaks from the beginning.