South Korea’s national baseball manager Kim Kyung-moon announces the team’s final 24-member roster for the Beijing Olympics Monday in Seoul. / Yonhap
By Kang Seung-woo
South Korea's national baseball team has finalized its roster for the Beijing Olympics.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) and Korea Baseball Association (KBA) announced Monday 24 members, headlined by Yomiuri Giants slugger Lee Seung-yeop, SK Wyverns lefty Kim Kwang-hyun and Samsung Lions shortstop Park Jin-man.
However, Hanwha Eagles first baseman Kim Tae-kyun, who leads the KBO in homers, RBIs and slugging percentage, and Lotte Giants ace Son Min-han, who is 8-3 with a 2.53 ERA this season, were left out.
By position, 10 pitchers and two catchers made the team, managed by Kim Kyung-moon, while seven infielders and five outfielders were selected.
Manager Kim's KBO team, the Doosan Bears, produced five Olympic players, the most among eight teams in the Korean league, and four players each were selected from the league-leading Wyverns and the Samsung Lions.
Lee is the only international player selected, and two other candidates, outfielder Choo Shin-soo of the Cleveland Indians and closer Lim Chang-yong of the Yakult Swallows, failed to make the squad due to restrictions from their professional teams.
``I had speculated the roster until this morning. I will try to produce the best achievement we can at the Olympics,'' Kim said after picking his 24 players.
``Among 10 pitchers, four ― Ryu Hyun-jin, Bong Jung-keun, Song Seung-jun and Kim ― will make the rotation.''
The finalists will be summoned on Aug. 1 and play three friendly games ― against the Netherlands on Aug. 4 and Cuba on Aug. 5 and 6 at Jamsil Stadium.
Eight nations ― Japan, the United States, Taiwan, Canada, China, the Netherlands, Cuba and South Korea ― will compete in Beijing, and the top four teams from the tournament stage will advance to the semifinals.
South Korea will fly to Beijing on Aug. 10 and play its opening game against the United States three days later.
Lim Tae-hoon (Doosan Bears), Oh Seung-hwan, Kwon Hyunk (Samsung Lions), Song Seung-jun (Lotte Giants) Han Ki-joo (Kia Tigers), Kim Kwang-hyun, Chung Dae-hyun (SK Wyverns), Ryu Hyun-jin (Hanwha Eagles), Bong Jung-keun (LG Twins), Jang Won-sam (Woori Heroes)
Jin Kab-yong (Samsung Lions), Kang Min-ho (Lotte Giants)
Jeong Keun-woo (SK Wyverns), Kim Dong-joo, Ko Young-min (Doosan Bears), Kim Min-jae (Hanwha Eagles), Park Jin-man (Samsung Lions), Lee Dae-ho (Lotte Giants), Lee Seung-yeop (Yomiuri Giants)
Lee Jin-young (SK Wyverns), Kim Hyun-soo, Lee Jong-wook (Doosan Bears), Lee Yong-kyu (Kia Tigers), Lee Tae-keun (Woori Heroes)
OK, AS AN EAGLE FAN I AM TICKED ABOUT FIRST BASEMAN KIM-TAE KYUN NOT MAKING THE OLYMPIC TEAM. I OFFER MY APOLOGIES AND HOPE THAT HE HAS A GREAT SEASON.