The 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) baseball team has been warned of injuries. Ryu Joong-il, coach of the national team, seems to be struggling until the end over the replacement list. 

The Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team 메이저놀이터 entry has a total of 24 players. Excluding amateur player Jang Hyeon-seok (Masan Yongma High School), out of 23 professional players, a total of 4 players were excluded from the first team entry. It is unclear whether Kiwoom Heroes outfielder Lee Jung-hoo (surgery) and NC Dinos pitcher Gu Chang-mo (left arm ulnar stress fracture) will participate in the tournament. Kang Baek-ho (KT Wiz), who suffered from sluggish batting and mental problems, and Na Gyun-an (Lotte Giants), who was diagnosed with hamstring inflammation, were all vacated from first-team entries. 

The biggest concern is to fill the vacancy of Lee Jung-hoo, who had surgery on the 27th due to damage to the left ankle extensor belt (membrane surrounding the ankle tendon). His expected rehabilitation period is 3 months. Manager Ryu Joong-il expressed regret, saying, “I had a brief conversation with the coaches who were with me to analyze the strength of the Japanese national team, but at present, I do not see a suitable candidate (to replace Lee Jung-hoo).” The national team will hold a Power Reinforcement Committee on the 7th.

The physical condition of Gu Chang-mo is also a variable when choosing a substitute for Lee Jung-hoo. Even at the time of the final list announcement, Gu Chang-mo, who was absent from the first team entry due to injury, has yet to return. In early June, he was not informed after being diagnosed with an ulnar stress fracture in his left arm. He was selected as a wild card and expected to be a left-handed ace, but he may not attend. 

‘Ryu Joong-il-ho’ is open to various possibilities. Coach Joong-il Ryu said, “If Koo Chang-mo falls out, we are also considering a plan to select a wild card for the outfield,” and was frustrated, saying, “But I can’t find the right player.” At a meeting earlier this month, he decided to select and share opinions with several substitute candidates regardless of position. 

He has many things to consider when selecting a substitute. As the regular season is operated during the AG competition, the maximum number of players selected per team is limited to three. An official from the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said, “This has not been established as a rule, but it is an agreed upon part of the executive committee.” In addition, regarding the selection of unqualified players in the military, the interests of each team cannot be ignored. If you look at the roster in early June, each team only includes a maximum of two unfilled players.  

I am very careful when it comes to changing players. Director Ryu Joong-il emphasized, “We are trying to announce the replacement card at the end as much as possible.” This is because various variables can occur until the end, such as injuries or sluggishness. As a result, a change in the composition of the national team is inevitable. Director Ryu expressed regret, saying, “I have to watch Gu Chang-mo’s physical condition a little more, and this time (after the list was announced in early June) there were many players who were in poor condition.” 

A KBO official said, “Replacement of injured players is possible until right before the tournament,” and “there is time to spare.” The national team is scheduled to convene on September 22nd and depart on September 28th. Director Ryu Joong-il plans to announce the final list of replacements after looking through them until the end.  

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