Kia’s Lee Yi-ri falls a day before Asian Games baseball call-up
“I don’t think I’ll be able to throw 80 pitches, even though I’m the starter,” Ryu said before the call-up day.
Ryu Jung-il, the manager of the Korean National Baseball Team, revealed the reason behind the decision to drop Lee Yi-ri.
“It’s unfortunate that Lee Yi-ri was dropped a day before the call-up,” Ryu said before the team’s first training session at Gocheok Sky Dome on the 23rd.
“The national team trainer kept checking on Lee’s blisters two weeks ago. I even saw it myself when he came back against Hanwha in Daejeon on the 21st. You may have a different perspective, but we checked the blister before he threw that day and the blister after he threw.”
“He should start against Japan and Taiwan. However, with this blister, we were wondering if he could complete 70-80 pitches. After all, he is supposed to be the starting pitcher. We didn’t think he could throw more than 80 pitches, so we decided to replace him.”
The previous day, the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) and the Korea Baseball Softball Association (KBSA) announced that “Lee Yi-ri, who is recovering from a finger injury, was deemed unable to perform at his best during the Asian Games.”
Lee made his debut against Hanwha on Nov. 21, but was pulled from the game in the second inning after struggling with his pitches and giving up five runs in 1.1 innings. National team manager Ryu Joong-il watched the game from the sidelines. The ostensible reason was injury, but his recent shaky performance seemed to be the decisive reason for the change.
Lee, the 2021 Rookie of the Year (1st pick), is expected to be the future left-handed ace of the KBO. He has also gained international experience as a member of the national team at the Tokyo Olympics last year and the World Baseball Classic earlier this year. This season, he kept his spot in the starting rotation with a 10-7 record and a 4.47 ERA in 24 games. He cruised through the first half of the season with a 7-5 record and a 3.82 ERA, but injuries slowed him down in the second half.
He suffered a sore shoulder after giving up two runs in four innings against the KT Wiz in Suwon on April 22, and a blistered finger against the LG Twins on April 9 after returning from a break. Despite returning from injury on two occasions, it appears that national team manager Ryu Joong-il did not have faith in him. Lee did not fare well in September, going 1-1 with an 11.42 ERA in three starts.
However, Lee Yi-ri and the KIA team said they didn’t understand the KBO’s decision to remove him from the squad a day before the call-up, saying that he had pitched in a game the day before because he had recovered from an injury and had been re-diagnosed as not injured. Lee Yi-ri, who was dropped for not being physically fit, is scheduled to pitch in a doubleheader next Wednesday.캡틴토토
Lee will join Koo Chang-mo (26-NC Dinos) on the roster, leaving no left-handers in the Asian Games squad. “Koo Chang-mo and Lee Yi-ri are the best left-handers in Korea, and it’s true that (they) are missing. We don’t have any left-handers, but I think our right-handers Kwak Bin and Park Se-woong will do well because they have faced a lot of left-handers in the league.”
Meanwhile, the baseball team, which leaves for Hangzhou on Sept. 28, will begin its quest for gold on Oct. 1 against Hong Kong in the group stage. They will then face Chinese Taipei on October 2 before facing the underdogs from the preliminary round on October 3. The top two teams in each group will advance to the Super Round, and the top two teams in the combined preliminary round and Super Round scores will compete for the gold medal in the final.