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S. Korea to name manager for 2017 World Baseball Classic no later than Sept.

All Headlines 16:51 August 26, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will name its national team manager for next year's international baseball tournament no later than September, an official from the country's pro baseball governing body said Friday.

Yang Hae-young, the secretary general of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), said the process of selecting South Korean manager for the 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC) is expected to be finalized soon.

"We plan to finalize the manager appointment no later than early September," Yang said. "It can be done as early as next week."

For the first two editions of the WBC in 2006 and 2009, South Korea was led by Kim In-sik. In 2013, the team was guided by Ryu Joong-il who is currently the manager of the Samsung Lions in the KBO.

Yang said that the KBO's technical committee for the WBC is reviewing candidates, including those who are currently coaching clubs in the KBO.

For the 2013 WBC and the 2014 Asian Games, the manager of the defending KBO champions took the national team job. But after coaches complained that it is difficult to take care of both the national team and pro clubs, the KBO in 2015 hired Kim, who was then head of the organization's technical committee, to lead the national team again.

Kim later guided South Korea to win the inaugural Premier 12, a baseball competition organized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC). The 69-year-old is still considered one of the candidates for the WBC coaching job.

Yang, meanwhile, said St. Louis Cardinals closer Oh Seung-hwan is eligible for the national team even if he hasn't served a KBO suspension. However, the KBO official emphasized that the squad selection for the WBC will be discussed after new manager is named.

Oh received a half-season, or 72-game, suspension from the KBO for illegal overseas gambling charges in January. The suspension will only go into effect if he returns to the South Korean league. The ban was given before he signed a deal with the Major League Baseball club.

"His intention to compete and his club's permission come first (before we decide to select him)," said Yang. "Our technical committee will consider this issue from all angles."

South Korea and Japan are two Asian host nations for the WBC which features 16 nations. South Korea, which will host the WBC games for the first time, will stage first-round Pool B games at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul from March 7-10, 2017.

South Korea, ranked No. 3 in the latest WBSC rankings, is one of the 12 nations that already qualified for the 2017 WBC based on their performance in the 2013 edition. The 2009 runner-up has been paired with Taiwan and the Netherlands in Pool B and is waiting for a winner from a qualification round in Brookyln, New York, where Brazil, Britain, Israel and Pakistan will compete for the remaining spot in September.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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