The Korean National Baseball Team, which successfully took the first step in its “generation change” at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, has begun official training ahead of its second gateway to the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) 2023.
The team, led by head coach Ryu Jung-il, began their training camp on Saturday afternoon at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu. Of the 26-man roster announced last month, Jung Woo-young, Moon Bo-kyung (LG) and Park Young-hyun (KT), who advanced to the Korean Series (KS), were not called up, as well as Kang Baek-ho (KT), who suffered a side injury.
Kim Young-gyu, Kim Hyung-joon, and Kim Joo-won (NC), who played in the playoffs the day before, will start training the next day.
Given the possibility that the final roster could change depending on KS’s schedule, seven more players from the preliminary roster – Cho Byung-hyun (SSG), Lee Byung-heon (Doosan), Na Seung-yup (Lotte), Moon Hyun-bin (Hanwha), Kim Tae-kyung, Heo In-seo, and Han Tae-yang (Sangmu) – were added to the squad.
The team, which won the gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games despite concerns that it would be the weakest team in history, is preparing for the tournament with a focus on generational change. Four nations – South Korea, Japan, Chinese Taipei, and Australia – will be represented at the APBC, which kicks off on April 16, with wildcards and a team comprised of players aged 24 or younger or within their third year in the professional ranks.
This is a great opportunity for the rejuvenated Korean national team to gain international experience. The team will train and play practice matches until the 13th, before departing for Tokyo, Japan on the 14th for the tournament. The team will play against Australia on the 16th, followed by Japan and Chinese Taipei, before competing in the third-place match or final on the 19th.
There is less pressure on the outcome of the tournament as it is not a performance-based competition. However, the significance of the tournament is not small in terms of developing players who will play a key role in major international tournaments such as the 2024 Premier12 and the 2026 World Baseball Classic (WBC). “This is an opportunity for the players who will be the main players at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics to develop their skills and confidence,” said Ryu Jung-il.
In fact, many of the players who represented the national team at the Hangzhou Asian Games have stepped up their game since returning to the KBO. “You can see the confidence,” Ryu said, naming players like shortstop Kim Joo-won, who led NC to the postseason with a breakout performance. They must have felt that they had to do well as national team players.”
The players also vowed to do well as part of a national team that is undergoing a generational change. “Following the Hangzhou Asian Games, we need to do well in this tournament so that younger players can continue to be called up to the national team,” said Noh Si-hwan (Hanwha), the ‘Home Run King’ of the 2023 season. “If the national team, which has undergone a 카지노사이트 generational change, performs well in the future, Korea will become a baseball powerhouse.”
Left-handed pitcher Lee Yi-ri (KIA), who was left out of the final roster for the Hangzhou Asian Games, said, “I want to compete well with players from Japan, Taiwan, and other countries that I will continue to meet in international tournaments.”