Asian Games: Korea Cuts Le Eui-lee, Adds Yoon Dong-hee to Roster

By Julian Guilarte
World Baseball Network

Kia Tigers pitcher Le Eui-Lee was cut from the South Korea roster September 23 in advance of the Asian Games. 

The News was reported by Yoo Jee-ho of Yonhap News Agency. He also reported that Lotte Giants outfielder Yoon Dong-hee was added to South Korea’s roster as his replacement. 

The 19th Asian Games are being held in Hangzhou, China, at the Shaoxing Baseball Softball Sports Culture Center, and started on September 25. 

Three games have been played so far between Laos, Thailand, and Singapore. Thailand is 2-0, Laos is 1-1 and Singapore is 0-2.

Le Eui-lee, 21 is in his third season in the Korean Baseball Organization. He’s pitched for the Kia Tigers for three seasons. Le Eui-lee made 22 starts and pitched three games out of the bullpen in 2023. He pitched 115.2 innings with 136 strikeouts and an ERA of 4.20. Some of his career numbers from 2021-2023 in the KBO are 364 innings pitched, 390 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.90.

Le Eui-lee also pitched for South Korea in the 2021 Summer Olympics In Tokyo, Japan, and in the 2023 WBC. Le-Eui-lee missed 12 days with a blister injury and the move to release him from the roster was made one day after his return per Yoo-Jee-ho. 

Yoo Jee-ho wrote about South Korea’s manager Ryu Jong-il comments about team South Korea to the media at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea. 

“I saw him get pulled early because of a blister a couple of weeks ago and then checked his finger again a week later. People may view this differently, but I didn’t think he could pitch effectively for us”, Yonhap reported Ryu Joong-il said. Ryu Joong-il was also worried that he couldn’t throw 70-80 pitches in the Asian Games. 

Yoon Dong-hee, 20 got just 13 at-bats in his first season in 2022 in the KBO with the Lotte Giants. This season he had two home runs, 39 RBI with an OPS of .702. He has struck out 65 times and walked 24 times in 358 at-bats. He can play all three outfield positions and had two assists this season and made four errors with a .978 fielding percentage. 

“We only had three natural outfielders on the roster, and we were prepared to use one of our infielders in the outfield,” Ryu said per Yonhap. “But then Yoon Dong-hee has been putting up some good numbers lately. So I decided to take him.”

Ryu Joong-il, 60 won the Asian Games as the manager of South Korea in 2014 and this will be his second appearance in the Asian Games. Ryu Joong-il has a 30-year history as a player and a coach with the Samsung Lions in the KBO. As a player in 13 seasons from 1987-1999 he had 45 home runs, and 359 RBI with a batting average of .265. 

He was a coach on the Lions for 11 seasons from 2000-10. He was named the Lions manager in the 2011 season and won four straight Korean Series championships to begin his tenure. He lost in the Korean Series in his fifth season. The 2016 campaign was Ryu Joong-il’s sixth and final season as the Lions manager. He stayed in the KBO and managed the LG Twins for three seasons from 2018-20.

Ryu Joong-il doesn’t expect his offense to score a lot of runs and stated that South Korea has a good bullpen and they should be able to win if they take the lead by a couple of runs. 

He mentioned to Yonhap that he had confidence in right handed pitchers Gwak Been of the Doosan Bears and Park Se-woong of the Lotte Giants to get left handed hitters out in his comments to the media at the Gocheok Sky Dome.

Gwak Been, 24 has played four seasons for the Doosan Bears. This season he pitched 121.1 innings with 97 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.97. Some of his career numbers are 398.2 innings pitched, 357 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.91.

Park Se-woong 27 has played for the Lotte Giants since 2015. This season he pitched 148 innings with 123 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.41. In his nine-year career with the Lotte Giants, some of his numbers are 1,149 innings pitched, 918 strikeouts, and an ERA of 4.60.

Infielder Kim Hye-seong, 24 hits for a high batting average, steals more than 25 bases per season, and plays solid defense. He plays second base and shortstop for the Kiwoom Heroes in the KBO and was fourth in the league with a batting average of .335 in the 2023 season. He also stole 25 bases and was caught three times. He hit seven home runs with 55 RBI in 546 at-bats. 

Kim-Hye-seong has played with the Kiwoom Heroes since 2017 and is the only player who has won a gold glove at second base and shortstop. Some of his career numbers in seven seasons are 26 home runs, 304 RBI, 181 stolen bases, and a .292 batting average. 

South Korea is the three-time defending champion of the Asian Games. They have won five gold medals, which is the most since baseball became a medaled sport in 1994.

South Korea’s first game of the Asian Games will be on October 1 against Hong Kong at 6:30 a.m. EDT.  They’ll play three straight games through October 3 with an off day on October 4. The placement round and super round will take place from October 5-6 followed by the gold medal and bronze medal game on October 7. 

The updated active roster for South Korea is listed below.  

Pitchers (Team)
Choi Ji-min (KIA Tigers)
Kim Young-kyu (NC Dinos)
Moon Dong-ju (Hanwha Eagles)
Jang Hyun-seok (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Park Se-woong (Lotte Giants)
Jung Woo-young (LG Twins)
Gwaek Been (Doosan Bears)
Park Yeong-hyun (KT Wiz)
Won Tae-in (Samsung Lions)
Na Gyun-an (Lotte Giants)
Go Woo-suk (LG Twins)                                                                                           

Catchers (Team)
Kim Hyung-jun (NC Dinos)
Kim Dong-heon (Kiwoom Heroes)                                                                                               

Infielders (Team)                                                                                                              
Kim Hye-seong (Kiwoom Heroes)
Noh Si-hwan (Hanwha Eagles)
Kim Ju-won (NC Dinos)
Kim Ji-chan (Samsung Lions)
Moon Bo-gyeong (LG Twins)
Kang Baek-ho (KT Wiz)
Park Seong-han (SSG Landers) 

Outfielders (Team)                                                                                                                  
Yoon Dong-hee (Lotte Giants)                                                                                       
Choi Ji-hoon (SSG Landers)                                                                                            
Kim Seong-yoon (Samsung Lions)
Choi Won-ju (KIATigers)                                                                                                                                             

Sunday, October 1, 2023                                                                                                   
12 a.m. EDT – Qualifier 2nd Seed vs. China 
12 a.m. EDT – Japan vs. Philippines 
6:30 a.m. EDT – Hong Kong vs. South Korea 
6:30 a.m. EDT – Qualifier 1st Seed vs. Chinese Taipei  

Monday, October 2, 2023                                                                                                   
12 a.m. EDT – Philippines vs. China                                                                                      
12 a.m. EDT – Hong Kong vs. Qualifier 1st Seed 
6:30 a.m. EDT – South Korea vs. Chinese Taipei
6:30 a.m. EDT – Qualifier 2nd Seed vs. Japan  

Tuesday, October 3, 2023
12 a.m. EDT – Chinese Taipei vs. Hong Kong                                                                  
12 a.m. EDT – Qualifier 1st Seed vs. South Korea 
6:30 a.m. EDT – China vs. Japan
6:30 a.m. EDT – Philippines vs. Qualifier 2nd Seed

Scores From The Asian Games
Tuesday, September 26
Thailand 4, Laos 1

Wednesday, September 27
Laos 8, Singapore 7 

Thursday, September 28
Thailand 17, Singapore 7 (7 Inn.)

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