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Korea’s WBC roster to be finalized this week

The South Korean roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic will be finalized this week, officials said Wednesday, as they prepare to replace two more players from the provisional lineup.

Officials at the Korea Baseball Organization said they will replace outfielder Choo Shin-soo of the Cincinnati Reds in Major League Baseball and pitcher Kim Jin-woo of the Kia Tigers in the KBO.

Choo, who was recently traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Reds, is expected to focus on preparing for the new MLB season.

The start of major-league clubs’ spring training coincides with the beginning of training camps for most WBC participants.

MLB stars from other countries have skipped two previous WBC tournaments in 2006 and 2009.

Choo will become a free agent after the 2013 season and could be in line for a lucrative, multi-year offer depending on his performance next year.

Choo would have been the only major leaguer on the South Korean team.

Kim, a hard-throwing right-hander, is the fifth pitcher to be replaced on the provisional roster.

According to the Tigers, Kim is dealing with ligament pains in his right elbow and will need to rest for up to four weeks without throwing.

Kim, 29, went 10-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 133 2/3 innings with two complete games.

Once a highly touted prospect out of high school, Kim frequently ran into off-field problems and was out of the KBO from 2008 to 2010.

He made 10 relief appearances last year before joining the Tigers’ rotation in 2012. He was expected to pitch in relief for the national team.

The South Korean pitching staff has already been decimated by injuries.

Two KBO left-handers, Bong Jung-keun and Kim Kwang-hyun, were left off with shoulder pains. Another lefty, Ryu Hyun-jin, recently signed a six-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the majors and has opted not to join the national team as he gets ready for his first MLB season. (Yonhap News)
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