(LEAD) (Olympics) S. Korean baseball team schedules 2 more tuneup games

유지호 / 2021-07-21 16:42:01
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(LEAD) (Olympics) baseball-training
▲ Members of the South Korean national baseball team stretch before practice in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on July 21, 2021. (Yonhap)

▲ South Korean pitcher Kim Jin-uk throws in a live batting practice in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on July 21, 2021. (Yonhap)

▲ Kim Kyung-moon (L), manager of the South Korean national baseball team, speaks with catchers Kang Min-ho (C) and Yang Eui-ji during practice for the Tokyo Olympics at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on July 21, 2021. (Yonhap)

(LEAD) (Olympics) baseball-training

(LEAD) (Olympics) S. Korean baseball team schedules 2 more tuneup games

(ATTN: ADDS manager's comments in paras 8-11; CHANGES photos)

SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) -- The defending baseball gold medalist South Korea scheduled two additional tuneup games Wednesday in its preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced that South Korea will play the minor league military club Sangmu at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and then the KBO club LG Twins at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The team previously had only one scheduled game in the leadup to Tokyo, the 2 p.m. Sunday tilt against another KBO club, Kiwoom Heroes.

All three games will be played at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul.

The national team had been scheduled to play an under-24 KBO All-Star team Friday, but that game was canceled Tuesday because of the surge in coronavirus cases. The league office reasoned that having the Olympic team go up against a squad made up of players from all 10 KBO clubs posed health risks.

However, the KBO felt comfortable enough to schedule two new games for South Korea against individual teams, straddling the fine line between ensuring the health of the players and giving the national team enough reps before the Olympics.

The KBO postponed an entire week's worth of games last week due to multiple COVID-19 cases involving two clubs: the NC Dinos and the Doosan Bears. The KT Wiz have also reported a case this week.

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

Kim had repeatedly expressed concerns about Olympic-bound hitters losing their timing at the plate with so much inaction of late. For some of them, their last KBO regular season game came as far back as July 5, because of rainouts and coronavirus-related cancellations.

Hitting off a machine or tee can only help so much. The national team only started doing live batting practices on Tuesday.

"I am still not satisfied with where our hitters are," Kim said Wednesday before practice at Gocheok. "But considering that this was their first live batting in almost a week, they swung the bat fine. They'll be hitting off pitchers today, too. I think the three upcoming games will really help us."

South Korea, which won the last Olympic baseball gold in 2008, will depart for Tokyo on Monday. Its first preliminary game is against Israel on July 29.

(END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved

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