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Provisional Asian Games baseball roster to be announced in April

A Korea Baseball Organization preseason game between the Doosan Bears and the Kiwoom Heroes is under way at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap)
A Korea Baseball Organization preseason game between the Doosan Bears and the Kiwoom Heroes is under way at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap)

South Korea's provisional roster for the baseball competition at this fall's Asian Games will be unveiled in early April, the country's professional league office said Wednesday, with the final roster expected to follow in early May.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), which oversees professional competition, said it will work closely with the Korea Baseball Softball Association (KBSA), the amateur governing body, in putting together the preliminary national team.

The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC), in charge of the national delegation for the Sept. 10-25 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, has recently set an April 7 deadline for provisional teams in all sports.

There will be no cap on the size of the preliminary baseball team. The KBSA has already sent the KBO a recommended list of 15 amateur players to the KBO, which has said it'll be open to taking amateur players to China.

In all, the KBO is expected to put about 150 players on the provisional team. The deadline for it falls just five days after the start of the 2022 KBO regular season.

The final team of 24 players will likely be released in early May, leaving KBO and amateur players precious little time to make an impression on national team manager Ryu Joong-il and his staff.

The national baseball teams at the past two major competitions faced some heavy criticism for a perceived lack of transparency in player selection and subpar performance on the field. After winning the 2018 Asian Games gold medal, Sun Dong-yol resigned as manager while under fire for apparently picking some players just to get them exempt from mandatory military service. Kim Kyung-moon's South Korea finished a disappointing fourth out of six teams at the Tokyo Summer Olympics last year, and Kim was not retained afterward.

On Ryu's watch, South Korea will limit professional players to those 24 or younger. The KBO will also not schedule a midseason break during the Asian Games, as it had for previous Olympics and Asian Games. Each of the league's 10 clubs will be required to release up to three players for the tournament.

Baseball in Hangzhou will involve the top six-ranked Asian teams and the top two qualifiers from the preliminary round.

Those eight teams will be divided into two groups of four. The top two from each group will then advance to the Super Round.

The two best teams after the Super Round games will meet for the gold medal, while the two remaining teams will end up in the bronze medal game.

South Korea has won the past three Asian Games gold medals. (Yonhap)

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