Lee Jung-hoo, Kang Baek-ho, and Koo Chang-mo… Will the AG team be okay without its core?

Lee Jung-hoo, Kang Baek-ho, and Koo Chang-mo… Will the AG team be okay without its core?

Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom) is out for the season, and Koo Chang-mo (NC) and Kang Baek-ho (KT) are struggling to get back into the first team. With so many key resources missing, how will the baseball team fare at the Hangzhou Asian Games in just over a month?

Led by head coach Ryu Jung-il, the Korean baseball team is set to compete at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games next month. After winning gold in Guangzhou 2010, Incheon 2014, and Jakarta-Palembang 2018, South Korea’s baseball team is aiming for its fourth consecutive gold medal at the Games.

However, the team has faced a series of setbacks leading up to the Games. The final roster was finalized as early as June due to a number of injuries.

Of course, it”s inevitable that there will be injuries as the athletes are in the middle of their season. However, it’s a different story when the injuries are to players who were considered key members of the national team.

The biggest leak is Lee Jung-hoo. Lee went under the knife last month after suffering a damaged left ankle ligament. The rehabilitation period is expected to last three months, which means he is out for the season, let alone the Asian Games.

The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) has decided to impose an age limit on the national team starting with the Asian Games. Initially set at 24, it was raised to 25 when the Hangzhou Games were postponed by a year. Lee, who straddles the age cutoff, was considered a key player on the team alongside Ko Woo-seok (LG).

He was one of the top performers in the league regardless of age and will be hard to replace. Kim Hyun-joon (Samsung), Yoon Dong-hee, and Kim Min-seok (Lotte) are being talked about, but no matter who is selected, it’s hard to see them performing as well as Lee Jung-hoo.

It’s not the only one, either, as the other two key hitters, Koo Chang-mo and Kang Baek-ho, are also unavailable for the Asian Games.

Koo Chang-mo left the mound after throwing five pitches against LG on June 2. He was later diagnosed with a micro-injury to his flexor hallucis longus (between his elbow and wrist), and his condition worsened to a stress fracture in late June.

After more than a month of rehabilitation, I was recently reassessed and told that I am not at full strength. Next week, I will start the Interval Throwing Program (ITP), but I don’t expect to pitch in practice. We’ll have to wait and see how the ITP goes. 스포츠토토

A healthy Koo is one of the best left-handed starters in the league, but it’s doubtful he’ll be healthy for the Asian Games. It’s a big blow for the pitcher who was considered the “ace” of the team.

Kang Baek-ho is also in a bad situation. After taking a month off since June, he returned at the end of the first half and played eight games before being dropped from the roster again. It was decided that he was not yet ready to play.

The physically and mentally exhausted Kang Baek-ho hasn’t even played in a second team game since his first team suspension. He doesn’t have a specific injury, so he should be fine to play, but it’s unclear if he’ll be able to perform as well as expected.

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