With Park Byeong-ho… Even if only Choi is missing, Lee Kang-cheol-ho is not worried about being a ‘first baseman’￼
Reporter Lee Sang-cheol = Lee Kang-cheol-ho, who is challenging the World Baseball Classic (WBC) semifinals in 14 years, faced the bad news that active big leaguer Choi Ji-man (Pittsburgh Pirates) left. But the coaching staff doesn’t seem to worry too much. This is because they prepared measures in advance under the assumption that Choi Ji-man might not be able to join, and Park Byeong-ho (KT Wiz), the ‘best first baseman’, is still alive.
The Korean baseball team, led by coach Lee Kang-cheol, submitted the final list of 30 players to the WBC Organizing Committee on the 8th. Compared to the final roster announced by coach Lee himself in January, only one position has changed. First baseman Choi Ji-man, who underwent elbow surgery at the end of last year, was dropped due to the opposition of his club Pittsburgh, and outfielder Choi Ji-hoon (SSG Landers) was selected as a substitute player.
The team consisted of 15 pitchers, 2 catchers, 7 infielders and 6 outfielders. With Choi Ji-man removed, the number of professional first basemen was reduced to two, Park Byeong-ho and Kang Baek-ho (KT Wiz).
First baseman Oh Jae-il (Samsung Lions) and Chae Eun-seong (Hanwha Eagles) were mentioned as replacement candidates, but the national team selected Choi Ji-hoon, who has more utility value. It was not a sudden decision, but a representative of the national team explained, “We made a plan B in advance in case Choi Ji-man is excluded.”
Previously, coach Lee also said, “If Choi Ji-man’s joining fails, he can pick a position other than first baseman,” and said, “Kim Hyun-soo, Park Hae-min (above LG Twins), and Choi Jeong (SSG Landers) may take over as first baseman.” It was vague.
There are many first baseman resources available, but it is highly likely that Park Byung-ho will be in charge of first base in the WBC. Kang Baek-ho is expected to be used as a designated hitter, as he did at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as he lacks experience as a first baseman and his defense is not solid.
It is regrettable that Choi Ji-man, who was recognized as a solid first base defense in the Major League Baseball, could not join, but since Park Byung-ho is present, first baseman without Choi is not a weakness of the national team.
Park Byeong-ho, who became the home run king six times, has a strong aggressive image, but has played top-notch defense as a first baseman. He handled hard hits by batters and throws by infielders reliably and well. 슬롯사이트
He also has extensive experience in international competitions. He played as the main first baseman in the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games and the 2015 and 2019 Premier 12, winning three championships and one runner-up.
In particular, the fact that Park Byung-ho is healthy is a good thing for Lee Kang-cheol. Park Byeong-ho, who suffered a ligament rupture in his right ankle during a game last September, returned at the end of the regular season and displayed his fighting spirit by playing in the wild card match and semi-playoff despite not being in perfect condition. Concentrating on rehabilitation after the season, he showed a rapid recovery and is normally digesting his training program at the KT spring camp in progress at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, USA.
Technical Committee Chairman Beom-Hyeon Cho said, “The reason we initially selected three first basemen in the final list of 30 players was because it was unclear whether Park Byung-ho would be able to defend first base.” “He expressed his hopes.
After improving his physical condition at the KT spring camp, Park Byung-ho is scheduled to join the baseball team on the 14th at the same place as KT for field training.