Kang Baek-ho (KT) and Choi Jeong (SSG) of the WBC (World Baseball Classic) national team hit home runs side by side from the first practice game. When major leaguer Choi Ji-man (Pittsburgh Pirates) was unable to join the national team due to opposition from his team, there were concerns that the power of the other lineup could be lower than expected. In this situation, the sluggers in the domestic league started their cannons with great enthusiasm.
On the 17th, Kang Baek-ho started as the 7th hitter in a practice match against NC at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, a training ground. In the bottom of the second inning, his first at-bat, he hit opposing pitcher Song Myung-ki and hit a two-run homer that went over the right-middle fence. He also added a hit in the bottom of the 7th inning and played an active role with 2 hits in 4 at-bats. Choi Jeong-eun came out as the lead batter in the 3rd inning and pulled off a solo home run off Seong-young Choi. The national team won 8-2 in this game played in 7 innings.
It was a meaningful home run for Kang Baek-ho. Last year, due to frequent injuries, he played only 62 domestic league games, batting average of 0.245, 6 homers, and 29 RBIs. His annual salary, which was 550 million won, was cut to 290 million won this year. Initially classified as a backup resource for the national team, he is expected to take over the first base defense of the national team without Choi Ji-man. Director Lee Kang-cheol said, “Kang Baek-ho has been in good shape since the KT camp. I think today’s home run will be a turning point not only for the WBC but also for me to start the season.”
Choi Jeong-eun, the only third baseman in the national team, said, “I have been building my body since the end of November after the Korean Series last year. It’s not 100% yet, but it’s getting better.” Park Byung-ho (KT), the home run king of last season, was also designated hitter No. 4 on the day, recording 2 hits in 3 at-bats바카라사이트 (1 double) and 1 RBI. After severely injuring ligaments in his right ankle in September of last year, he chose rehabilitation instead of surgery to return to the postseason and worked hard on rehabilitation after that. He is now getting back to his pre-injury condition.
Unlike the batting line, which produced 14 hits, including two homers, the pitching staff of the national team was still uneasy. Seven pitchers gave NC eight hits, two walks, and one hit ball. Kim Gwang-hyun got two hits against four batters that day. Koh Young-pyo (KT), who gave up one hit while dealing with five batters, said, “It’s a bit burdensome because the curve and slider feel slippery in my hand.” National team coach Lee Kang-cheol said, “I think pitchers will have to quickly adapt to the WBC official ball.”
The WBC’s restrictions on annual fighting are also a variable. If a pitcher throws more than 30 pitches, he is obliged to take a day off, and if he pitches more than 50 pitches, he must take four days off. There is also a rule that a pitcher must deal with at least three batters (can be replaced when the offense is shifted). Coach Lee said, “I think pitchers will have to bet quickly, focusing on strikes, and fielders will also have to play well without making mistakes.”
On that day, scouts from nine major league teams, including the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, and New York Yankees, came to the stadium. It is to see Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom), who is scheduled to enter the US next year. Lee Jung-hoo was the only starting batter to be silent with no hits (2 at-bats).
Japan’s TBS broadcast captured the Korean national team’s play on camera. They also conducted interviews with Korean reporters. KBO requested that broadcast transmission be made within 5 minutes to minimize exposure to power.