Fears of not being able to throw 80 pitches proved unfounded. KIA Tigers pitcher Lee Yi-ri delivered a quality start-plus performance to wipe the slate clean after being dropped from the Hangzhou Asian Games squad. With the decision to drop Lee from the team now being questioned, attention is also turning to the possibility of Lee making the roster for the upcoming Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) in mid-November.
On September 27, Lee started the second game of a doubleheader against the Changwon NC Dinos and pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, striking out three and walking one in the team’s 6-1 win.
Lee tossed a scoreless first inning before recording his first career triple in the bottom of the second. Lee kept the momentum going with an RBI single in the bottom of the third inning.
The KIA bats responded with a four-run big inning in the top of the fifth to give Lee Ri the win. Lee closed out the inning with another bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the fifth to earn his 12th win of the season.
Lee returned to the mound in the bottom of the sixth and again led off the inning with a triple. In the bottom of the seventh, Lee worked back-to-back shutout innings and finished the night with a Quality Start Plus.
Lee suffered a shocking Asian Games roster change last week. On September 22, the KBO announced, “We have decided to replace a member of the baseball team for the Hangzhou Asian Games. The player is KIA pitcher Lee Yi-ri, who is recovering from a finger injury but is not expected to perform at his best during the tournament.”
Lee was briefly sidelined by a blistered finger in his September 9 start against the Gwangju LG Twins. After recovering, Lee pitched 1.1 innings against the Daejeon Hanwha Eagles on Sept. 21, allowing five runs (four earned) on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
KBO Commissioner Cho Kye-hyun and Asian Games head coach Ryu Joong-il were on hand to watch Lee’s start. After Lee’s last league start before his Asian Games call-up was not good, the team decided to change his roster the next day and call up outfielder Yoon Dong-hee (Lotte Giants).
The KIA team said there was nothing wrong with Lee’s finger. On the day of the announcement, Lee received a “clean bill of health” on his blistered finger from the club.
Ryu Jung-il, the head coach at the center of the controversy, commented on the decision to replace Lee Yi-ri on the day of the national team call-up, saying, “Personally, I feel sorry for Lee Yi-ri. Lee Yi-ri was the main left-handed pitcher who needed to take the starting role in important games. I saw him get a blister on his finger a couple days ago. The national team trainer kept checking his condition. I also watched Lee start the game against Daejeon on the 21st,” said Lee.
“It depends on how you look at it, but when I saw the state of his blisters and the fact that he couldn’t throw two innings that day and the state of his blisters after the game, I didn’t think he could throw more than 70-80 pitches as a starting pitcher. In the end, I decided he couldn’t throw more than 80 pitches as a starting pitcher, so I decided to replace him,” Liu explained.
However, contrary to Liu’s expectations, Lee pitched efficiently, going seven innings with just 77 pitches. He didn’t need to throw 80 pitches for show.
For now, Lee will focus on KIA’s fall baseball campaign and postseason appearances. However, Lee’s name is on the preliminary roster for the APBC 토토사이트 tournament in mid-November. It will be interesting to see if the KBO Power Enhancement Committee, which replaced Lee from the Asian Games roster on the eve of the summit, will select him again for the upcoming APBC.
Lee, who was committed to the Tokyo 2020 and WBC 2023 squads, had to deal with a shocking Asian Games roster change. It was an emotional experience for the athlete, who was unable to express her feelings when the announcement was made. If Lee’s withdrawal from the APBC tournament is finalized, it will only add to the controversy surrounding the Asian Games team changes.