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Big leaguers named to provisional S. Korean roster for Premier 12 tournament

All Headlines 16:34 September 08, 2015

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Sept. 8 (Yonhap) -- The Texas Rangers outfielder Choo Shin-soo and the Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Kang Jung-ho were named to South Korea's provisional roster for the upcoming Premier 12 tournament on Tuesday, though their participation remains doubtful.

Choo and Kang were among the 45 players on the provisional roster for the inaugural competition, which will take place from Nov. 8 to 21 in Chinese Taipei and Japan.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), which operates the top professional league here, said it will submit the provisional roster to the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) by Thursday. The KBO will announce the final roster of 28, with at least 13 pitchers and two catchers, by Oct. 10.

A third South Korean in the majors, left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers, wasn't on the team, as he is recovering from a shoulder surgery that ended his season in May.

Choo and Kang, though, may not get to represent South Korea, as MLB has already announced that it has agreed to make only the players not on the 40-man roster available for the Premier 12, pending club approval.

An MLB executive recently told Kyodo News that no players under contract with MLB teams have been authorized to play in the tournament, citing "unresolved issues." The WBSC says discussions are still ongoing regarding big leaguers' participation.

South Korean manager Kim In-sik insisted nothing has been set in stone yet as far as MLB players' availability, saying the tournament organizers have not yet set guidelines on player selection.

Also, Kim noted that players not already on the provisional roster may not be named to the final team, and naming Choo and Kang at this stage was a measure of insurance.

Among others, three Japan-based players, right-hander Oh Seung-hwan of the Hanshin Tigers, infielder Lee Dae-ho of the SoftBank Hawks and right-hander Rhee Dae-eun of the Chiba Lotte Marines, made the provisional team. The Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), which runs the top pro league in Japan and will be a co-host of the Premier 12, recently announced that it will allow foreign players in the league to take part in the tournament, pending individual teams' approval.

Park Byung-ho of the Nexen Heroes, a two-time KBO MVP who is leading the league this season with 47 home runs and 131 RBIs, headlines the group of home-based players. Former Chicago Cubs reliever Lim Chang-yong, currently pitching for the Samsung Lions, and one-time U.S. minor league pitcher Yoon Suk-min, now with the Kia Tigers, also made the team.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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