The Korean national baseball team participating in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) replaced one player on the 6th. It was because Choi Ji-man (32), who plays in the US Major League, was not allowed to participate in the tournament by his team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. National team coach Lee Kang-cheol selected outfielder Choi Ji-hoon (26, SSG Landers) as a replacement.
Manager Lee Kang-cheol selected an outfielder instead of first baseman, the same position as Choi Ji-man. We paid attention to the health of Park Byung-ho, who suffered a ligament injury in his right ankle last year. Cho Beom-hyeon, head of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Technical Committee, said, “The reason we initially selected three first basemen was because Park Byeong-ho’s defense was unclear.” He decided that he didn’t need more first basemen, so he picked an outfielder,” he explained.
Now, the only remaining first baseman resources in the national team are Park Byeong-ho and Kang Baek-ho. In an emergency, Kim Hyun-soo (35, LG Twins) can be put in, but a professional first baseman is better. It is highly likely that Byeong-ho Park, who has been well-received for his stable first base defense for a long time, will become the starting first baseman rather than Kang Baek-ho, who turned pro in 2020.
Park Byeong-ho is currently digesting all training normally at his team’s spring camp. He has no problem with difficult defensive training. Park Byung-ho also said, “I did steady ankle (reinforcement) training in the winter. He is now in a state where he can do offense, base run, and defense without major problems,” he said, revealing his confidence.
Park Byeong-ho’s healthy skills were already verified last year. Park Byeong-ho, who was in charge of first base defense full-time while Baek-ho Kang was absent, recorded a batting average of 0.275, 35 homers, and 98 RBIs in 124 games last year. He also regained the home run title for the first time in three years since 2019. The stigma of the ‘aging curve’, which had been received for the past two years due to sluggish performance, was also cleared away.
The key is Kang Baek-ho’s performance. Unlike Byeong-ho Park, Baek-ho Kang is followed by a question mark. Kang Baek-ho, who missed a long time due to an injury last year, had a batting average of 0.245, 6 home runs and 29 RBIs in 62 games. There are many voices expressing doubts about the fact that he, who suffered from injuries and sluggishness, beat other first base candidates to join the national team. 온라인카지노
However, coach Lee Kang-cheol and the technical committee believed in Kang Baek-ho. Kang Baek-ho was empowered as a resource to hit ‘one shot’ when needed. It is a backup first base resource that will relieve Park Byung-ho’s physical burden, and at the same time, his ability as a designated hitter and pinch hitter is highly valued.
Kang Baek-ho also has a strong will to restore his honor. At the same time as washing away last year’s sluggishness, he also wants to take this opportunity to erase the scarlet letter of the “gum controversy” at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. At that time, Kang Baek-ho was criticized for being caught on the broadcast screen chewing gum casually while his team was losing.
Kang Baek-ho said, “I have shown a disappointing image to fans (due to controversy and sluggishness). We are preparing for this tournament with a greater sense of responsibility, so please keep an eye on it. I will show you a good image,” he said, strengthening his will to restore his honor.
The two players are looking forward to the synergy effect that will be created not only in the national team but also in their team, KT. KT recruited Park Byeong-ho last year, but the two players took turns leaving due to injuries. Park Byeong-ho said, “My job is to score a lot of points in the center of the batting line. This year, I hope to join forces with Kang Baek-ho and help the team score a lot.”