Five former big leaguers to lead KBO squads facing MLB

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Five former big leaguers to lead KBO squads facing MLB

Five former Korean big leaguers will form the backbone of the KBO squads taking on the MLB in Seoul and Busan next month, with Lee Dae-ho, Oh Seung-hwan, Kim Kwang-hyun, Yang Hyeon-jong and Kim Hyun-soo all getting one more chance to play with their former big league colleagues.
The KBO on Tuesday announced two separate squads — Team KBO and Team Korea — to represent the league in four exhibition matches against a team of MLB players next month in Seoul and Busan.
The MLB World Tour will first arrive in Busan for two games at the Lotte Giant’s Sajik Baseball Stadium on Nov. 11 and Nov. 12. There they will take on Team KBO, made up of players from the southeastern Giants, NC Dinos and Samsung Lions.
The tour will then move up to Seoul for two games at the Kiwoom Heroes’ Gocheok Sky Dome on Nov. 14 and Nov. 15. In Gocheok they will face Team Korea, which will draw players from all 10 KBO teams.
Team Korea is expected to feature the players most likely to represent Korea at the 2023 World Baseball Classic, and will be led by national team manager Lee Kang-chul.
Lotte Giants legend Lee Dae-ho, who theoretically hung up his bat for good last week, is coming straight back out of retirement to join Team KBO for one last hurrah in Busan, where he played for 17 years.
Lee’s hugely successful career also saw him play four years in Japan and one year in the MLB with the Seattle Mariners.
Lee isn’t the only former big leaguer to join Team KBO, with Lions closer Oh Seung-hwan having also played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays and Colorado Rockies.
Yang Eui-ji, the NC Dinos catcher-turned-designated-hitter also joins the squad, alongside other big names like Samsung catcher Kang Min-ho, Dinos ace Koo Chang-mo and Lions slugger Oh Jae-il.
Yang Eui-ji, Koo and Oh Jae-il will all also appear for Team Korea, which is led predominantly by a large LG Twins contingent of eight players, along with four players from the KT Wiz and Kia Tigers and three from the pennant-winning SSG Landers. The other clubs contribute one or two players to the team.
Three major leaguers will appear for Team Korea: Kim Kwang-hyun of the Landers, Yang Hyeon-jong of the Tigers and Kim Hyun-soo of the Twins.
Kim Kwang-hyun and Yang Hyun-jong are both recent returnees, having played for the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers last year. Kim Hyun-soo has been back for a few years, but played for the Baltimore Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies from 2016 to 2018.
Alongside Kim Kwang-hyun, Yang Hyun-jong and Koo, the full pitching contingent also includes: Go Woo-suk, Jung Woo-young and Kim Yun-sik of the Twins, Kim Min-su, So Hyeong-jun, Um Sang-back and Ko Young-pyo of the Wiz, Kim Won-jung of the Giants, Gwak Been of the Doosan Bears, Moon Dong-ju of the Hanwha Eagles.
Yang Eui-ji is one of three catchers named to the squad, alongside Yoo Kang-nam of the Twins and Park Dong-won of the Tigers.
Oh Jae-il is joined at first base by Chae Eun-seong of the Twins, with Kim Hye-seong of the Heroes and Kim Sun-bin of the Tigers at second. Choi Jeong of the Landers and Heo Kyoung-min of the Bears are in at third, with Park Seong-han of the Landers and Oh Ji-hwan of the Twins rounding off the infield at shortstop.
Kim Hyun-soo is one of four outfielders named to the squad, alongside Park Hae-min of the Twins, Lee Jung-hoo of the Heroes and Na Sung-bum of the Tigers.
MLB are yet to announce the full squad that will head to Korea next month but have confirmed that it will be led by Detroit Tigers manager A. J. Hinch.
Six players have been confirmed: San Diego Padres shortstop and former Heroes star Kim Ha-seong, New York Mets first baseman and former Lions star Darin Ruf, Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez, Baltimore Orioles slugger Anthony Santander, Chicago Cubs infielder Patrick Wisdom and Cleveland Guardians outfielder Steven Kwan.
The MLB World Tour Korea stop will mark the first time official games organized by MLB to be played in Korea in 100 years, since the 1922 Asian Tour that included stops in China, Japan and Korea, which at the time was occupied by Japanese colonial forces.
The November games follow the MLB’s Home Run Derby X Seoul which was held in Incheon in September.

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