National baseball team picks Lim to replace Kim

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National baseball team picks Lim to replace Kim

Pitcher Lim Tae-hoon of the Doosan Bears has been selected to replace Kim Kwang-hyun on the national baseball team, less than a month before Korea competes in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, according to the Korea Baseball Organization.

The KBO said yesterday that technical advisors and the national team coaching staff had reached an agreement to replace Kim with Lim. Kim has to sit out because of facial paralysis, fever and other symptoms related to high stress, according to national team manager Cho Beom-hyun.

Lim, a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher, made the preliminary roster of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics team, but lost out to Yoon Seok-min in the final round of cuts. Lim’s strength is versatility. He has had experience as a starter, middle relief pitcher as well as closer.

Lim broke into the KBO with the Bears in 2007 and won Rookie of the Year with a 7-3 record, one save and a 2.40 ERA. He pitched out of the bullpen until last season, when he started 20 games to earn a 9-11 record, with one save and a 5.30 ERA.

He took on a different role for the Bears in the postseason. With Lee Yong-chan scratched from the playoffs after serving a suspension for drunken driving and hit-and-run charges, Jeong Jae-hoon had taken on the role of closer. With Jung struggling, Lim was thrust into the closer role during the second-round best-of-five series against the Samsung Lions, despite suffering from lingering back pain. Lim pitched well, allowing one earned run and striking out nine in seven innings.

With the Asian Games set to start on Nov. 12, the national team reported for training camp on Monday.

But losing Kim could still prove to be difficult for the team. Kim led the league in wins this season with 17 and also played an integral part in the Wyverns’ Korean Series sweep of the Lions.

Several candidates were mentioned as possible replacements for Kim and the decision to go with Lim rather than a southpaw came as a bit of a surprise to many.

“It’s true that we’re in need of a left-handed pitcher, but we will also consider right-handed pitchers if we cannot find the right player,” Cho said earlier this week.

By Jason Kim []
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