“Nothing much will change” Lee Jung-hoo’s ML challenge leaves only Lee Sang-moo, Kiwoom, and AG Hankuk University to worry about

South Korean baseball has been dealt a blow when ubiquitous center fielder Lee Jung-hoo, 25, suffered an injury that could keep him out for the season. With no major setbacks expected for his Major League Baseball (ML) aspirations, the only thing left to worry about is his team, Kiwoom, and the Korean National Baseball Team, which will compete at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.

“Lee Jung-hoo was diagnosed with a left ankle extensor ligament injury after undergoing a detailed examination including MRI and X-ray at CM Hospital and Sejong Sports Orthopedics,” Kiwoom officially announced on April 24.

It all started when Lee felt pain in his left ankle while fielding in the eighth inning of an away game against the Lotte Giants at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on April 22. The area, called the extensor hallucis longus, is a membrane that wraps around the ankle tendon and requires suture surgery to repair. Lee is scheduled to undergo a further examination at Sejong Sports Orthopedics on the 25th and then schedule the surgery, which is expected to take about three months.

As news of Lee’s injury broke, there were three main topics of interest. The Major League Baseball, the fall baseball season with Kiwoom, and the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games gold medal in September.

First, the major league aspirations are unlikely to be affected. Even before this season, the general consensus was that Lee’s skills were overrated. According to Kiwoom officials, scouts from more than 10 teams from all six major league districts, including Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) clubs, have visited the Gocheok Sky Dome at least twice this year through early July. However, many of these visits were to check on the performance of foreign players from the KBO’s 10 clubs, while Lee’s visit was limited to checking on his progress after his early-season hitting slump. One major league scout, who had been checking out Lee’s defense and baserunning ability up until last season, said he had already made a value judgment.바카라사이트

Another major league scout told Star News on Thursday after the news of Lee’s injury broke, “It doesn’t really change anything. Lee has already shown everything to scouts. This injury is also not a direct ligament injury, so I don’t think it will have much impact on his evaluation.”

He has two teams to worry about: Kiwoom and the Korean National Baseball Team. First, Lee Jung-hoo is an integral part of Kiwoom. While not as good as last year, Lee has still put up solid numbers this season, batting .319 (105-for-329) with six home runs, 45 RBIs, 50 runs scored, six doubles, a .407 OPS, and a .456 slugging percentage in 85 games.

This is especially impressive considering that even with Lee’s performance, the team ranks ninth in batting average (.254), 10th in home runs (36), and eighth in OPS (.676). This season, Kiwoom has a solid starting rotation that leads the league in quality starts (50), 12 behind the second-place Doosan Bears. However, they are currently in eighth place with 40 wins, two draws, and 47 losses due to a league-worst batting lineup with a run support of 4.11.

Lee’s replacement, Kim Hye-sung (24), will be out for the entire month of September for the Hangzhou Asian Games. In 88 games this season, Kim batted .322 with five home runs, 36 RBIs, 66 runs scored, 21 doubles, a .380 on-base percentage, a .442 slugging percentage, and an OPS of 0.821, joining Lee as the only Kiwoom hitters with an OPS of 0.8 or higher. Then there’s Im Ji-yeol with an OPS of 0.720, which is a different weight than Lee Jung-hoo and Kim Hye-sung.

Although better than Ki, the national team has its own problems. After winning three consecutive gold medals since Guangzhou in 2010, the Korean team is aiming for gold again. Among them, the 2022 KBO MVP Lee Jung-hoo is considered one of the keys. In addition to his weight in the batting order, the team has only three professional outfielders (Lee Jung-hoo, Choi Ji-hoon, and Choi Won-jun) on the roster.

While it’s good to be able to replace players before the tournament, Lee Jung-hoo’s presence in the outfield is crucial to the national team. Kim Hye-sung and Kang Baek-ho can play the corner outfield, but in a tournament where defense is so important, it’s not an option. The lack of resources to recruit a replacement is likely to deepen the worries of national team coach Ryu Jung-il and power enhancement committee chairman Cho Kye-hyun.

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