Pitcher on the provisional WBC roster injuredA key relief pitcher could miss the upcoming World Baseball Classic for Korea next spring after suffering a severe foot injury, officials said yesterday.
Right-hander Hong Sang-sam recently broke his right foot during an offseason practice session and will undergo surgery, Hong’s club, the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization, said Thursday. Hong was named to the provisional roster for the WBC last month after enjoying a breakout season as a setup man in 2012.
“He will have the surgery soon and the rehab could take about six to eight weeks,” an official with the Bears said. “He will probably be able to resume baseball activities by early February at the earliest.”
According to the official, Hong sustained the injury during a running drill on Tuesday. At first, Hong felt he had sprained his foot, but further tests revealed the fracture.
Hong, 22, enjoyed the best season of his four-year career in 2012. He appeared in a career-high 53 games and went 5-2 with 22 holds and a 1.93 ERA. He struck out 69 batters in 65 1/3 innings. Korea is scheduled to open WBC training camp on Feb. 12 in Taiwan, where the team will also play its first round of games against the Netherlands, Australia and Taiwan starting on March 2.
Hong’s absence will be another blow to the Korean pitching lineup that will be missing up to three key left-handers.
Bong Jung-keun, a major part of Korea’s two previous WBC squads in 2006 and 2009, has been ruled out of the 2013 team with shoulder problems. Kim Kwang-hyun, the 2008 KBO MVP, is also undergoing rehabilitation for his left shoulder and his KBO team, the SK Wyverns, said Kim will not be available.
Ryu Hyun-jin, one of the KBO’s most dominant southpaws, recently signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in Major League Baseball and will likely spend February at spring training, which begins on Feb. 13, with his new team.
The WBC will overlap with MLB clubs’ spring training and preseason.
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