S. Korea's final WBC tuneup in Arizona wiped out by rain
Published : Feb 27, 2023 - 10:07
Updated : Feb 27, 2023 - 10:07

South Korean catcher Yang Eui-ji prepares for a practice session for the World Baseball Classic at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, on Feb.16 (Yonhap)

TUCSON -- South Korea's last training camp game in Arizona for the World Baseball Classic was canceled by rain Sunday, costing the team a precious opportunity to test itself ahead of the big tournament.

South Korea was set to face the LG Twins of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium in Tucson at noon Sunday, but early morning rain rendered the ground unplayable.

The national team is due back in Seoul early Wednesday and the canceled scrimmage will not be made up.

In Tucson, South Korea did not have the services of its two major leaguers, Kim Ha-seong of the San Diego Padres and Tommy Edman of the St. Louis Cardinals, due to their club commitments. Both are scheduled to arrive in South Korea on Wednesday and have their first workout with the national team the following day.

South Korea ended up playing four games against three KBO clubs during its two-week camp in Arizona. It won all four contests behind some powerful bats, but manager Lee Kang-chul and his staff have been concerned about their pitchers' slower-than-expected progress.

With Sunday's game wiped out, the national team ran an optional day of practice. Of 15 pitchers, 14 threw side sessions in the bullpen. Eight batters got into the indoor cage in the rainy morning to hit off pitching machines.

After returning home, the national team will practice Thursday at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul and then play a scrimmage against the SSG Landers of the KBO on Friday. South Korea will then travel to Osaka on Saturday and play official, pre-WBC exhibition games against two Japanese clubs there: the Orix Buffaloes on March 6 and the Hanshin Tigers on March 7.

South Korea's first Pool B game of the WBC is against Australia at noon March 9 at Tokyo Dome.

South Korea will also play Japan, the Czech Republic and China in the opening round. The top two countries after round-robin action will advance to the quarterfinals. For Pool B teams, all opening-round games and the quarterfinals will be at Tokyo Dome.

LoanDepot Park, home of the Miami Marlins, will host the semifinals and the final. (Yonhap)