Liu Zhongilao painted a golden arch at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
It was a happy ending, but it came amidst noise. Pitcher Lee Yi-ri (21-KIA Tigers) was announced as a replacement a day before the call-up.
On September 21, Lee threw 45 pitches in 1⅓ innings against Daejeon Hanwha. After watching Lee pitch on the field, coach Ryu Jung-il selected outfielder Yoon Dong-hee (20) to replace Lee a day before the Hangzhou Asian Games. Liu said at the time, “Lee Yi-ri is the best left-handed starter in Korea, and he should start against Taiwan or Japan. I wondered if he could throw 70-80 pitches as a starter with this finger.” “After all, he’s a starter, so if he can’t throw more than 80 pitches, he’ll be in trouble,” he said. I was worried a lot.” However, both Kia and Lee put a question mark on the national team’s decision, saying there was nothing wrong with his finger. “I heard about it through my club, but I didn’t get a call (from the national team). It’s not a good feeling,” he said, adding, “It’s possible that I was eliminated because I wasn’t good enough or because I was sick, but it’s a bit unfortunate that I heard the news through the team.”
Ryu will also take the helm at the 2023 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) in Japan next month. The team had its best result at the Hangzhou Asian Games, which featured an under-24 team like the APBC. It made sense for Liu to take over, not only for continuity but also for leadership.
This time around, the APBC is focused on identifying the next generation of talent that will not only play in next year’s Premier12, but also in the 2026 World Baseball Classic (WBC) and 2028 Los Angeles Olympic teams. This was reflected in the preliminary roster announced in late August. Liu envisions a roster that is inclusive of players from postseason teams.메이저놀이터
Lee Yi-ri is also included in the preliminary roster for the APBC. He is the only KIA starter with double-digit wins (11). He has pitched at least five innings in all four games since being dropped from the Asian Games squad and has a 1.57 ERA. With previous experience at the Tokyo Olympics and 2023 WBC, Lee is the most experienced left-hander on the APBC roster.
In addition to Lee, Kim Do-young (20), Yoon Young-chul (19), Choi Ji-min (20), Jung Hae-young (22) and Han Jun-soo (24) are also on the APBC reserve list. Kim Do-young, considered the next great shortstop, Yoon Young-chul, the KBO Rookie of the Year candidate this season, closer Jung Hae-young, who surpassed 20 saves for the third consecutive year, Hangzhou Asian Games gold medalist Choi Ji-min, and Han Jun-soo, the only left-handed hitter on the reserve list with the ability to hit mid- to long-range, are all classified as options for Ryu. It will be interesting to see which of them Ryu chooses.