Korea to play three warm-up games ahead of Olympic baseball tournament

Korea to play three warm-up games ahead of Olympic baseball tournament
22/07/2021
Korea are the defending gold medallists, having won it all at the Beijing 2008 Games, where Olympic baseball was last featured.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced that the Korean National Team would play three warm-up games ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. All three games will be played at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul.

Korea will face the minor league military club Sangmu at 6.30 pm local time on Friday, 23 July. The second game is scheduled for Saturday, 24 July, against the LG Twins of KBO. The National Team will complete the series facing the Kiwoom Heroes, another KBO club, on Sunday, 25 July.

Korea's manager Kim Kyung-moon thanked the three upcoming opponents for agreeing to play the national team "despite many challenges."

Kim had reportedly expressed concerns about his hitters "losing timing" after the KBO postponed an entire week of games due to COVID-19 cases involving three clubs: the NC Dinos, the Doosan Bears and the KT Wiz.

Kim was forced to make a couple of roster moves after second baseman Park Min-woo and pitcher Han Hyun-hee withdrew from the Olympic team due to COVID-19-related misconduct.

"I would've liked to start this (camp) with a smile," said Kim, who managed Korea to the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. "As a senior member of the baseball community, I am here with a heavy heart."

Kim replaced the two with Lotte Giants' rookie left-hander Jin-uk Kim and Samsung Lions' veteran right-hander Seung-hwan Oh.

The manager explained the decision to select a 19-year old pitcher to replace infielder Park.
"We needed more left-handed pitching. Kim struggled early in the season but pitched better after moving to the bullpen. I wanted to give a young left-hander like him a chance to grow."

Korea will make its debut in the Olympics on Thursday, 29 July, against Israel.

The 2021 KBO season will be on hold during the Tokyo Games and resume on Tuesday, 10 August.

Tokyo 2020 – Olympic Baseball