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S. Korea adds 8 pitchers to 'designated pool' for World Baseball Classic

All Headlines 10:30 February 09, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Thursday added eight players to its "designated pitcher pool" for the upcoming World Baseball Classic (WBC).

The tournament organizers created the pool for this year's edition, allowing teams to select up to 10 pitchers for the pool. They are eligible for one or more consecutive rounds.

The pool includes left-handed starter Yoo Hee-kwan, a 15-game winner in the 2016 Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) season with the Doosan Bears, and Kim Se-hyun, the closer for the Nexen Heroes who led the KBO with 36 saves last year.

Despite his strong KBO credentials, Yoo was left off the final roster because he won't blow anything by hitters.

Of 250 pitchers who made at least one KBO appearance in 2016, Yoo ranked 247th in average fastball velocity at 128.3 kph (79.7 mph). Counting only those with at least 100 innings pitched in 2016, Yoo was last among 35 such pitchers. No other pitcher threw fastballs below 130 kph on average.

The Korean team's pool also has Jung Woo-ram, a veteran closer for the Hanwha Eagles, and Shin Jae-young, the reigning KBO Rookie of the Year for the Heroes who went 15-7 in 2016.

The 28-man final roster includes 13 pitchers, eight of them right-handers.

In this file photo taken on Nov. 2, 2016, Yoo Hee-kwan of the Doosan Bears throws a pitch against the NC Dinos in Game 4 of the Korean Series at Masan Stadium in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap)

For teams to reach into that pool, they must include up to two pitchers from the pool in their final roster. After each round, any pitcher from an advancing team's designated pitcher pool may be replaced on the final roster with another pitcher from the pool. Once the pitcher is removed from the final roster, he may not be added back to the team.

The WBC will impose pitch-count limits to protect the hurlers, since the tournament is held before the start of professional seasons in places like South Korea, Japan and the United States.

Pitchers may not throw more than 65 pitches in a game in the first round, 80 pitches in a game in the second round, and 95 pitches in the semifinals and the final.

Also, a pitcher must rest for at least four days if he throws 50 or more pitches, and for a minimum of one day if he tosses at least 30 pitches. Those who take the mound on back-to-back days have to sit out at least one day.

South Korea will be hosting first round action for Pool A at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. It will open the tournament against Israel on March 6, and face the Netherlands on March 7 and finally Chinese Taipei on March 9.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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