Lee Yi-ri (21) was unexpectedly dropped from the roster a day before the national team’s call-up due to a blister. Contrary to the KIA team’s opinion that Lee had developed a callus after recovering from the blister, national team coach Ryu Joong-il believes that Lee will not be able to perform as a starting pitcher due to the blister.
Hangzhou National Baseball Team head coach Ryu Jung-il met with reporters before the team’s first training session at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on March 23 and revealed why he replaced left-hander Lee Yi-ri with outfielder Yoon Dong-hee.
Lee suddenly canceled his trip to Hangzhou on Feb. 22, a day before the national team was called up, citing recovery from a finger injury. The Korea Baseball Softball Association’s Performance Enhancement Committee and the KBO’s Power Enhancement Committee explained the decision to replace Lee, saying, “He is recovering from a finger injury, but it is difficult for him to show his best performance during the tournament.”
Lee struggled with injuries after earning his 10th win of the season on Aug. 16 against the Gwangju Kiwoom. On August 22 against Suwon KT, Lee took 10 days off after injuring his shoulder and leaving the game after four innings, and on August 9 against Gwangju LG Electronics, Lee had 11 days to recover from a blister on the middle finger of his left hand. Lee returned to the field on Aug. 21 against Daejeon Hanwha with no abnormalities after a medical examination, but struggled with five runs (four earned) on two hits and three walks in 1⅓ innings. He pitched his worst game in front of manager Ryu Jung-il and power enhancement committee chairman Cho Kye-hyun.
According to the KIA organization, Lee’s shoulder and finger are both healthy. The finger that caused the blister controversy has also reportedly become calloused again and is not affecting his pitching. KIA, which is in the midst of a title race, carefully checked Lee’s physical condition before putting him on the mound for the first team.
So why was Lee dropped from the national team? “It’s unfortunate that Lee Yi-ri was the last player to be substituted,” Ryu said, adding, “I saw Lee Yi-ri get a blister on his finger two weeks ago, and the trainer in charge kept checking on him. On the 21st, I went to see him pitch in Daejeon. I saw the blister before he pitched, the blister after he pitched less than two innings that day,” he explained.
The head coach realized that Django End Yi Li would have a difficult time starting due to the blisters. “Yi-li is the best left-hander in the country,” Liu said. “But in my eyes, I was wondering if he could start with this blister and throw more than 7-80 pitches. I thought about it a lot, but I decided that the starter couldn’t throw more than 80 pitches, so I decided to change him.”
With Koo Chang-mo and Lee Yi-ri out of the lineup, Ryu was left with only right-handed pitchers in his starting lineup. But he’s not worried. “Both Koo Chang-mo and Lee Yi-ri are the best left-handed pitchers in Korea, so it’s a challenge, but we have Kwak Bin and Park Se-woong. There are more lefties than righties in the KBO. They’ve faced lefties well, so I’m sure they’ll do well.”
Ryu also explained why he chose outfielder Yoon Dong-hee to replace Lee as the pitcher. “We had 12 pitchers,” Liu said. “We had 12 pitchers, and we had a lot of options,” he said. “We only had three outfielders, so we were worried about who to use when one of them got injured. We were going to use Kim Hye-sung, Kang Baek-ho, and Kim Ji-chan, but in the end, Yoon Dong-hee had the best performance, so we decided to select him as an outfielder.”스포츠토토
Ryu, who led his team to a gold medal at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, will be looking for gold again this time around. “First, we will focus on the qualifier against Chinese Taipei to top the group. We will definitely win gold in Hangzhou to repay the people’s support,” Liu promised.
The team will train on the 23rd and 24th and then play a scrimmage against Sangsung on the 26th to get a feel for the game. The team will have a final training session on the 27th before departing for Hangzhou, China on the 28th. All training and exhibition games will be held at the Gocheok Sky Dome.