The Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team is one day away from being called up, but there’s still time to make some changes. After seeing Lee Yi-ri (21-KIA) pitch in his comeback game in Daejeon, we’re curious to see what head coach Ryu Jung-il will decide.
The Korea Baseball Softball Association (KBSA) Performance Enhancement Committee and the KBO Power Enhancement Committee announced the changes to the national team on Nov. 21. Kim Sung-yoon (Samsung) was selected to replace outfielder Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom), who is out for the season due to ankle surgery, and Kim Young-kyu (NC) was selected to replace pitcher Koo Chang-mo (NC), who hasn’t been able to pitch well after suffering a fatigue fracture of the ulna in his left arm.
The KBO said, “In addition to the two players, if it is determined that the performance of other representative players has deteriorated due to injuries, we will closely examine their physical condition and make additional replacements. The national team, which will convene on the 23rd and begin training at Gocheok Sky Dome for the first time, has until the 22nd to make final roster decisions.
Lee Yi-ri is one of the reasons why the national team has room to maneuver. Lee was removed after four innings and 76 pitches against Suwon KT on March 22 after feeling discomfort in his left shoulder. A checkup the next day revealed a simple inflammation, so he was removed from the first team roster and skipped one rotation. He returned to action against SSG in Munhak on March 3, but had another problem against LG in Gwangju on March 9. He was removed from the game in the fifth inning due to a callus on his left middle finger.
After being removed from the first team roster again, Lee made his comeback on the 21st against Daejeon Hanwha. It wasn’t a major injury, but it was a concern for the national team as the Asian Games approached. Ryu Jung-il, the national team’s head coach, visited Hanwha Life Eagle Spark in Daejeon, where the game was played. He sat side-by-side in the center field behind the back net with Cho Gye-hyun, the KBO’s chairman of power enhancement, and Kim Dong-soo, the battery coach, to watch Lee pitch.
Lee took the mound with a plan to throw 30-40 pitches as it was his comeback game. He started the first inning with a “KKK,” striking out Lee Jin-young, Choi In-ho, and Noh Si-hwan in succession. Lee Jin-young and Choi In-ho struck out with sliders and Noh Si-hwan with curves.
But in the second inning, things suddenly went south. He gave up a leadoff walk to Nick Williams on a full count. A six-pitch fastball was well outside and low, but it was ruled a ball. A four-pitch fastball to Chae Eun-sung was hit deep in the zone, and the bases were loaded. Kim Tae-yeon singled to center field to load the bases, then gave up a double to right field to Jung Eun-won. 스포츠토토
Lee induced Do-yoon Lee to ground out to second, but a throwing error by shortstop Kim Kyu-sung, who was trying too hard, allowed the runners to advance to third and fourth. After giving up a full-count walk to Choi Jae-hoon, Lee was stranded at first and third. In 1 1/3 innings, Lee allowed five runs (four earned) on two hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Lee suffered his seventh loss of the season as KIA fell to 4-10. His ERA rose from 4.19 to 4.47.
Lee totaled 45 pitches on the day, with an even split between strikes (24) and balls (21). His fastball topped out at 147 mph and averaged 144 mph. More sliders (15) and changeups (9) than fastballs (20).