Faced with an unexpected injury setback to Lee Jung-hoo, the Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team will reportedly make changes to its roster after observing the second half of the KBO regular season as much as possible.
The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) and the Korea Baseball Softball Association (KBSA) announced the final 24-man roster for the Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team on March 9.
The team included 21 players aged 25 or younger or in their fourth year of professional baseball and three “29 and under” wildcards – Koo Chang-mo, Park Se-woong, and Choi Won-jun.
In accordance with the Asian Baseball 꽁머니Confederation’s rule that injured players can be replaced up to the last minute after the roster is announced, Ryu Jung-il, the national team’s head coach, will select a replacement for Lee Jung-hoo, who needs surgery on his left ankle.
The Hangzhou Asian Games kick off on September 23, with baseball starting its schedule on October 1, later in the competition.
With regular league play continuing uninterrupted during the Asian Games, the baseball team will depart the country on September 28.
A date for the national team to convene has yet to be determined.
The status of Koo Chang-mo, who is rehabbing after being diagnosed with a microscopic injury to the flexor muscle between his elbow and wrist, will also be closely monitored.
Manager Ryu Jung-il and the KBO Strength and Conditioning Committee selected Koo Chang-mo for the squad based on the belief that he could return before the Asian Games, even though he last threw a pitch in early June.
With Koo Chang-mo’s status with the national team still unclear, the worst-case scenario is that Lee Jung-hoo will have to be replaced.
Given that professional teams are still in the midst of their regular season, the limit of three players per team for the national team is likely to have a significant impact on replacements.
Even if there is a player who can replace Lee Jeong-hoo and Koo Chang-mo, they will not be able to be selected if their team already has three representatives.
In the end, the national team and the KBO Power Enhancement Committee plan to wait and see what happens in the KBO League, including the possibility of additional injuries, before announcing the replacements en masse.
Head coach Ryu Jung-il and assistant coach Ryu Ji-hyun are currently in Japan to scout for unemployed baseball players who have a good chance of making the team.