Director Ryu Joong-il said in an interview with this magazine immediately after returning from Tokyo, Japan on the 26th, “I feel sorry for Lee Jung-hoo’s injury.” On the 18th, coach Ryu Joong-il left for Tokyo, Japan to analyze the strength of the Japanese national team. The 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games team was to watch the Japanese intercity baseball tournament in which many players who are likely to join the team participate. I watched the power of left-handed pitcher Morita Shunya and right-handed pitcher Shuichi Gayo on the field and confirmed their formidable skills.
While coach Ryu Joong-il was staying in Japan, he heard the sudden news that Lee Jung-hoo would need three months to rehabilitate due to an injury. Lee Jung-hoo was replaced during the defense at the end of the 8th inning against the Lotte Giants at Sajik Stadium in Busan on the 22nd. As a result of the examination, he was diagnosed with damage to the extensor belt of his left ankle (membrane surrounding the ankle tendon), and was put on the operating table on the 27th. Considering the three-month rehabilitation period, participation in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, which will be held from late September to early October, has virtually disappeared. He’s close to out for the season.
Director Ryu Joong-il’s voice over the phone was full of regret. Director Ryu said, “Isn’t Lee Jung-hoo the best hitter in Korea right now? Is there an outfielder who can replace Lee Jung-hoo?” Lee Jung-hoo was a key player in the Asian Games baseball team. Despite a poor start with a batting average of 0.218 in April this season, he raised his batting average to 0.318. 먹튀검증 May (batting average 0.305)-June (0.374)-July (0.435) As time passed, the batting average gradually increased. This month’s batting average was first overall.
He is an irreplaceable player not only in his team Kiwoom, but also in the national team. Starting with the 2017 Asian Professional Baseball Championship, his first season, Lee Jung-hoo played as a representative in all international competitions, including the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, the 2019 Premier 12, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC). He wore the Taegeuk mark and played a total of 32 games in 5 tournaments, recording a batting average of 0.333 (35 hits in 105 at-bats).
There are only two professional outfielders in the Hangzhou Asian Games team, Lee Jung-hoo and Choi Ji-hoon (SSG Landers), so the gap seems even bigger. Choi Won-joon is classified as an outfielder, but he is mainly playing as a first baseman for his team, the KIA Tigers. Infielder Kang Baek-ho also has experience in the outfield, but his defense is poor. Lee Jung-hoo is also excellent at leadership. In this young national team with an average age of 23.21, Lee Jung-hoo has a long gap after Choi Won-joon, who was selected as a wild card.
Director Ryu Joong-il said, “I was very surprised when I first heard the news, but I can’t help it.” The national team starts preparing alternatives. The number of recruits per team is limited to a maximum of 3, and the distribution of players who have not completed the military must also be considered, so there is a lot of concern when selecting replacement players for Lee Jung-hoo.
The national team will hold a power reinforcement committee on the 7th of next month. Coach Joong-il Ryu said, “We will discuss the candidates at the meeting next month,” but “I had a brief talk with the coaches (Chief Jo Gye-hyun, Chairman of the Power Reinforcement Committee, Choi Il-eon, Kim Dong-soo, and Ryu Ji-hyun) who were together in Japan. I don’t see any candidates,” he regretted.