Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Technical Committee Chairman Cho Bum-hyun cited Park Byung-ho’s physical condition and utilization as the reason for selecting Choi Ji-hoon (26, SSG Landers) as a substitute for Choi Ji-hoon (32, Pittsburgh Pirates). .
Chairman Cho Beom-hyun said in a phone call with Newsis on the 6th, “I discussed various plans with national team coach Lee Kang-cheol before Choi Ji-man’s absence from the World Baseball Classic (WBC) was confirmed.” Sung (Hanwha Eagles) was also mentioned as a candidate, but after consulting with coach Lee Kang-cheol and coaches, we chose Choi Ji-hoon.”
On the morning of the same day, the KBO announced, “Choi Ji-hoon was unable to participate in the WBC due to opposition from his team, Pittsburgh. Choi Ji-hoon was selected as a substitute.”
Choi Ji-man, who was traded to Pittsburgh after the 2022 season, underwent an elbow bone fragment removal surgery last November. Pittsburgh opposed Choi Ji-man’s participation in the WBC because he was concerned about his physical condition after undergoing surgery right after the season.
With Choi Ji-man absent, there was a prospect that another first baseman would be selected, but the national team coaching staff and technical committee chose Choi Ji-hoon, an outfielder.
The fact that Park Byung-ho (KT Wiz)메이저놀이터, the starting first baseman, is showing signs of recovery enough to play defense in the WBC, influenced his selection.
Chairman Cho said, “The reason why 3 first baseman resources were included in the final list of 30 players was because it was unclear whether Park Byeong-ho would be able to handle first base defense.” situation,” he explained.
Park Byeong-ho suffered a ligament injury while playing base run in mid-September last year. He was also predicted to be out of the season, but Park Byung-ho, who showed a rapid recovery, returned in early October. Park Byung-ho, who appeared as a pinch hitter in the last four games of the regular season, showed his fighting spirit by participating in all the postseason games.
After finishing the season, Park Byeong-ho went back to rehabilitation. At the end of last year, Park Byung-ho said, “It’s off-season, so I’m concentrating on rehabilitation comfortably.”
As a result of direct confirmation by head coach Lee Kang-cheol, who is also the coach of the national team training part and KT, it was judged that Park Byeong-ho would have no major problems defending first base in the WBC.
In addition to Park Byeong-ho, Kang Baek-ho (KT) is also a resource for first base, and among the outfielders included in the final list, Kim Hyun-soo and Park Hae-min (above LG Twins) can also defend first base.
Accordingly, the national team coaching staff and technical committee decided to select Choi Ji-hoon regardless of his position.
The fact that there is a wide range to utilize Choi Ji-hoon in short-term battles is also a reason for selecting him as an alternative.
In short-term matches, there are many moments when it is important to score one point, so resources that can be used as counter-runners and counter-defense are essential. Also, if the WBC cannot decide a winner within the regular innings, there are many variables to play from the 10th inning of overtime.
Choi Ji-hoon is quick on his feet and has the ability to carry out operations. His outfield defense ability is evaluated as one of the best in the league.
Chairman Cho said, “When deciding on the final 30-man roster, the player the national team coaches missed the most was Choi Ji-hoon.” We decided that it would be better to select players who can expand the range of use.”