Rehabbing left-handed pitcher Koo Chang-mo (NC Dinos) was named to the final roster for the Hangzhou Asian Games as a wild card.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) and the Korea Baseball Softball Association (KBSA) announced the final 24-man roster for the Hangzhou Asian Games on Monday.
Among the roster is the name of “wild card” Koo Chang-mo.
Koo Chang-mo started the game against the visiting LG Twins at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Feb. 2, and after throwing five pitches, he voluntarily left the game and was diagnosed with a micro-injury to the flexor muscle between his elbow and wrist in two separate medical examinations.
The medical staff advised him to undergo rehabilitation for about three weeks.
Korea Baseball, which has won three consecutive Asian Games titles in Guangzhou in 2010, Incheon in 2014 and Jakarta-Palembang in 2018, was concerned about both “generational change and performance” when selecting its squad for Hangzhou.
The team is comprised of 21 players aged 25 or younger, or in their fourth year of professional play, and three ’29 and under’ wildcards.
Koo Chang-mo was selected as a wild card, along with right-handed pitcher Park Se-woong (Lotte Giants) and outfielder Choi Won-joon (Sangsung).
A healthy Koo is a key member of the team who can serve as an ace.
The KBO Power Enhancement Committee selected Koo Chang-mo in hopes of his recovery.
In the event of an injury, the team can ‘replace the player’, so the burden of selecting Koo Chang-mo was lessened.
“After investigating the current status of the injured player and the treatment process, we determined that he can recover sufficiently by September (when the Asian Games begin),” said Cho Gye-hyun, chairman of the KBO Power Enhancement Committee. “The rules have not yet been finalized, but according to previous tournament rules, it is possible to replace an injured player until the day before the game. We looked at all of these situations.”
The average age of the squad is 23.21, making it the second-youngest Asian Games squad in history after the 1998 Bangkok Games (22.33).
The ‘Younger Asian Games Team’ will convene in September for domestic training before departing for Hangzhou, China, where they will compete from October 1-7.
The KBO League will not be suspended during this time.
The KBO has decided to select a maximum of three players per team, taking into account the fact that each team will be playing a regular season during the Asian Games.
Kiwoom Heroes (Lee Jung-hoo, Kim Hye-sung, Kim Dong-heon), LG Twins (Moon Bo-kyung, Go Woo-seok, Jung Woo-young), and NC (Koo Chang-mo, Kim Hyung-joon, Kim Joo-won) were selected.
SSG Landers (Park Sung, Choi Ji-hoon), Lotte (Park Se-woong, Na Kyun-an), KT WIZ (Kang Baek-ho, Park Young-hyun), Samsung Lions (Won Tae-in, Kim Ji-chan), KIA Tigers (Lee Yi-ri, Choi Ji-min), and Hanwha Eagles (Noh Si-hwan, Moon Dong-joo) had two players each.
The Doosan Bears had only one player, Kwak Bin, selected.
Outfielder Choi Won-jun, who plays for Sangmu, and Masan Yongmago pitcher Jang Hyun-seok were also selected to the team.
Jang will be the first Korean high school baseball player ever to compete in the Asian Games.
Of the 24 players selected, Jang Hyun-seok is one of 19 who have not resolved their military issues.
If he wins a gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games, he will be eligible for military service benefits.
On the same day, the KBO and KBSA also unveiled the coaching staff that will lead the team alongside head coach Ryu Jung-il.안전놀이터
Choi Il-un (pitching), Kim Dong-soo (battery), Jang Jong-hoon (hitting), Ryu Ji-hyun (operations), Lee Jong-yeol (defense), and Kim Hyun-wook (bullpen and conditioning) will wear the national uniform in Hangzhou.
It is also noteworthy that Ryu Jung-il and former LG manager Ryu Ji-hyun, who worked together as manager and head coach at LG, are reunited on the national team.
“Coach Ryu Ji-hyun will operate from third base,” Ryu said.