It was a twist that no one saw coming.메이저사이트 It was a dramatic way to board the last train to Hangzhou.
The Korea Baseball Softball Association’s (KBSA) Performance Enhancement Committee and the KBO’s Power Enhancement Committee decided on Feb. 22 to replace left-hander Lee Yi-ri (21-KIA) in the baseball team for the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.
“Lee is recovering from a finger injury, but it was determined that he will not be able to perform at his best during the Games,” the committee said. Lee made his comeback start against Hanwha in Daejeon on the 21st, but struggled with five runs (four earned) on two hits and three walks in 1⅓ innings. National team coach Ryu Jung-il was at the stadium that day and watched Lee’s pitching and didn’t hesitate to leave the stadium when Lee was hit.
Earlier in the day, Koo Chang-mo (26-NC) was also dropped from the national team, and with Lee Lee-ri, the only left-handed starter, “dropping out,” attention turned to who would fill the vacant spot.
A surprising name emerged. Lotte outfielder Yoon Dong-hee (20) joined the national team as Lee’s replacement. “The national team coaching staff, power enhancement committee, and performance improvement committee decided that a professional outfielder and right fielder were needed, and after discussions, Yoon Dong-hee was finally selected,” the KBO said.
After Lee Jung-hoo (25-KIUM) was ruled out of the Asian Games due to injury, the team was in need of an outfield option to replace him and several players were mentioned, including Yoon Dong-hee. The national team chose Kim Sung-yoon (24-SAMSUNG) over Lee, so it looked like there would be no more outfielders.
However, the national team added a left-handed outfield of Choi Ji-hoon (26-SSG), Choi Won-jun (26-KIA), and Kim Sung-yoon to their lineup with the addition of right-handed outfielder Yoon Dong-hee.
Yoon has played in 100 games this year and is enjoying a solid first full season with a .296 batting average, .338 on-base percentage, and .363 slugging percentage with two home runs and 39 RBIs.
After failing to make the opening day roster due to fierce outfield competition in the Lotte organization, Yoon hit so well in the second team that he earned a chance to play in the first team in late April, and he hasn’t been sent down to the second team since. She took advantage of the opportunity that came her way.
Yoon, who has now grown to the point where she is being considered as an alternate outfielder for the Asian Games, said earlier this month that she would like to go to the Asian Games, but it’s not something she can control, so it’s hard to imagine how thrilled she must be to be included in the team just one day before the official call-up date.
Na Kyun-an ⓒLotte Giants
Park Se-woong ⓒLotte Giants
This puts Lotte on the cusp of having three national team members, including “wild card” Park Se-woong (28) and “pitcher-turned-success myth” Na Kyun-ahn (24), who already have tickets to Hangzhou, along with Yoon Dong-hee. If the national team wins the gold medal, ‘Choochobak’ could become a reality. All of them are eligible for military service benefits. A 28-year-old pitcher, a 24-year-old pitcher who is labeled a “homegrown ace,” and a 20-year-old outfielder who has earned a spot in the starting lineup? For Lotte, the scenario could not be better.
Lotte is the only team to have three players on the roster who are “undrafted. Initially, there were rumors that the final roster for the Asian Games would have a maximum of two players per team without military service. However, the KBO said, “The Asian Games squad was selected without considering military service at all, and was selected based on the principle of selecting a maximum of three players per team (including a wild card), with age and seniority restrictions (25 years or younger or in their fourth year), except for a wild card.”
And they’ve been warming up. Park, who traveled to the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March of this year, had a rough start to the season but has since regained his form, going 8-7 with a 3.41 ERA. In his start against the SSG in Incheon on the 22nd, one day before the national team call-up, Park pitched six innings of three-hit ball and allowed two runs, marking his third consecutive quality start (QS).
Na Gyun-an, who is 6-7 with a 3.46 ERA this year, has only appeared in five games since returning from a hamstring injury, taking three losses, but his ERA has been stable at 3.10 and he has shown signs of regaining his command, allowing just one home run in 29 innings. Moreover, he is expected to be a versatile pitcher for the national team, as he has experienced starting, long relief, and chasing roles after switching to pitching.
Yoon Dong-hee was also encouraged by the news of her inclusion in the national team and showed that she is ready to continue her strong play in Hangzhou, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, one RBI and one run scored against SSG in Incheon on April 22.
Of course, Lotte still hasn’t given up on the top five and is trailing fifth-place KIA by 4.5 games, so they will have to play an uphill battle without three key players starting on the 23rd against Incheon SSG, but the outcome of the Asian Games will have a significant impact on the team’s future, so we can only watch with interest.
Yoon Dong-hee ⓒLotte Giants
Yoon Dong-hee ⓒLotte Giants