The 19th Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team is facing the challenge of staying afloat without one of its most dependable players, Lee Jung-hoo (25, Kiwoom Heroes), according to foreign analysts.
On July 24, Lee was diagnosed with a three-month total ankle dislocation that required surgery on his left ankle. He will not be able to participate in the Hangzhou Asian Games in China, scheduled for Sept. 25-Oct. 7.
Taiwanese news channel Dong Sun Hsin Yuan Tai reported, “South Korea’s top batsman Lee Jung-hoo will miss the Hangzhou Asian Games due to injury. There are worries that he cannot be replaced by anyone else.”
Defending champion South Korea will use the Hangzhou Asian Games to try to win its fourth consecutive baseball gold medal, following Guangzhou, China, in 2010; Incheon, South Korea, in 2014; and Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia, in 2018.
Chinese Taipei was the biggest obstacle in South Korea’s path to three consecutive gold medals, including silver in Guangzhou, silver in Incheon and bronze in Jakarta-Palembang. “Korea has lost its batting centerpiece,” said Dong Sun Hsin-Yuan Tai, introducing Lee as “the 2022 KBO League’s five-time champion and MVP.”
Lee won the regular season MVP award after leading the 2022 KBO League in batting average, hits, RBIs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. He was also named the playoff MVP.
“South Korea has won three consecutive Asian Games with an all-star lineup from the KBO League. However, the Hangzhou Games created its own selection rule, with players aged 25 or younger or in their fourth year of professional baseball plus three wild cards.”바카라사이트
“Lee has a wealth of national team experience, having played in the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC),” said Dong Sun Xinyuan Tai, who noted that “Lee was expected to lead a young Hangzhou Asian Games squad, but he will not be able to fulfill this important task,” analyzing the weakening of the Korean team.
Lee is the KBO’s No. 1 star, ranked No. 1 in the 2023 Korea Gallup Poll’s “Favorite Baseball Players at Home and Abroad” survey. A drop in domestic interest in the Hangzhou Asian Games is also inevitable.