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Korea Baseball Organization: News, Notes, and Where to Watch

 Conor Liguori  |    May 21st, 2024 10:30am EDT

KBO Owners Attending Games Often 


The Korea Times reports that the chairpersons of the Lotte Giants, Hanwha Eagles, and Doosan Bears have recently attended their teams’ games to boost their image among fans. 

“Baseball team owners have recently been visiting ballparks to interact with fans,” a chaebol industry official told The Korea Times. “Given that the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) League is the most popular professional sport here, their visits help to build a positive and friendly image for their baseball teams and the companies.”  

Fans of the Hanwha Eagles were so excited to see Chairman Kim Seung-youn on May 10. After a 5-4 win against the Kiwoom Heroes, those in attendance chanted his name and considered him a good luck charm.  


Heroes’ Jang Jae-young Converted to Position Player 


On Sunday, the Kiwoom Heroes announced that pitcher Jang Jae-young would become a position player. The 22-year-old righty was in the process of returning from an elbow injury.   

“We sat down with Jang Jae-young on May 7 to discuss his elbow situation, and we talked about a position switch,” the Kiwoom Heroes said in a statement. “We had several more conversations after that, and all parties agreed that there have to be some bold changes to help both the team and the player in the future.”  

Kiwoom selected Jang as their top pick in the 2020 KBO draft, and he went 1-5 with a 5.53 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 71.2 innings in 2023. In the statement made by the Heroes, the team says Jang will work on his hitting skills until they find a suitable position for him.  


Giants’ South Korean Outfielder Lee Out for Season  


On Friday, the San Francisco Giants announced that the 2022 KBO MVP Jung-hoo Lee will undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder and miss the remainder of the 2024 Major League Baseball season.  

Lee injured his shoulder after he crashed into the center-field wall in a home game against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, May 11. Lee’s injury was a massive blow for San Francisco and Lee, who was playing his first season in MLB. He signed a six-year $113 million contract with the Giants during the winter and was hitting .262 with two home runs and eight RBI in 37 games.  

Lee was one of the best players in the KBO from 2017-23. He won the KBO Rookie of the Year Award in 2017, the KBO League Most Valuable Player Award in 2022, and five consecutive KBO League Golden Glove Award honors from 2018-22.  


This Day in Korean Baseball History  


On May 20, 2016, Texas Rangers’ South Korean outfielder Shin-Soo Choo returned from the 15-day disabled list but exited the game early due to hamstring tightness in a 2-1 win against the Houston Astros.  

Choo spent four separate lengthy stints on the injured list in 2016, which limited him to 48 games—his season ended on August 16 after he fractured his left forearm.  

Choo plays for the SSG Landers of the KBO and helped the Landers defeat the Kiwoom Heroes four games to two in the 2022 Korean Series.  


KBO Standings as of Monday, May 20  


  1. KIA Tigers (29-16-1) 
  2. Samsung Lions (26-19-1) 
  3. NC Dinos (25-20-1) 
  4. Doosan Bears (26-21-2) 
  5. LG Twins (25-21-2) 
  6. SSG Landers (25-21-1) 
  7. Kiwoom Heroes (19-26-0) 
  8. KT Wiz (19-27-1) 
  9. Hanwha Eagles (17-28-1) 
  10. Lotte Giants (15-27-2) 


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Conor Liguori