Korea, Chinese Taipei to square off
Asia round of Classic continues at Tokyo Dome on Friday
By Wayne Graczyk / Special to MLB.com
Managers of both teams have admitted they are not at full strength, and not as prepared as they would like, but hope to make last-minute adjustments that will translate into a victory.
In the inaugural Classic in 2006, Korea defeated Chinese Taipei, 2-0.
Following Classic tune-up games against Japanese League teams, Chinese Taipei manager Yeh Chih-Shien stressed his team's need for improvement.
"Our pitchers are having a tough time with their control, and our defense is having a lot of problems," Chih-Shien said. "On offense, we are putting the runners on base but can't drive them in. We need to come up with the timely hits if we are to be victorious against Korea."
The CT mound staff gave up nine walks, and the offense produced 13 hits as they lost to the Saitama Seibu Lions, 13-2, on March 3.
Korea is missing its biggest slugger from the 2006 Classic and Beijing Olympics, Lee Seung-Yeop, who opted to stay with his Japanese team, the Yomiuri Giants. Shin-soo Choo of the Cleveland Indians is with the Korean team but is doubtful because he is coming off rehab for an ankle injury and is also being bothered by a sore elbow.
Korea won the Classic Asian Round in 2006 with a perfect 3-0 record, but the going is expected to be tougher this time.
"Our team is somewhat jet-lagged after training in Hawaii, and our players are having a difficult time adjusting to a different ball, strike zone and time zone," Team Korea manager Kim In-Sik said. "But we will give it our best shot against Chinese Taipei. Our primary goal is to get to the second round and take it from there."
Wayne Graczyk is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.