Chinese-born S. Korean pitcher to play for China at World Baseball Classic

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a South Korean All-Star pitcher of Chinese descent, will represent China at the upcoming World Baseball Classic (WBC), Ju’s club manager said Tuesday, setting up a potential showdown against his adopted nation.

Lee Kang-chul, Ju’s skipper for the KT Wiz in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) and also manager of the South Korean national team, said Tuesday the Wiz had granted Ju his wish to play for China at the March 8-21 tournament. 스포츠토토

“My understanding is that Ju Kwon will be in spring training with KT in Arizona next month and then report to the Chinese national team just before the tournament,” Lee said. “We respect his decision and we wish him all the best.”

Ju, 27, was born in China but became a Korean citizen in 2007. He played middle school and high school baseball in South Korea, and joined the Wiz in an expansion draft before the 2015 season.

The right-hander established himself as a solid relief pitcher starting in the 2019 season, when he had a 2.99 ERA and 25 holds. In 2020, Ju led the KBO with 31 holds while setting career bests with 77 appearances and a 2.70 ERA.

Over the past four years, Ju has pitched to a 3.16 ERA across 245 innings, and is tied for the LG Twins reliever Jung Woo-young for the most holds in the league with 98.

The WBC has loose regulations that allow players to represent countries of their parents’ birth, even if the players themselves are not citizens of those countries. Ju also pitched for China at the 2017 WBC. South Korea will likely have at least one such player in St. Louis Cardinals infielder Tommy Edman, who was born in Michigan to an American father and a Korean mother.

China and South Korea are both in Pool B for the opening round, along with Japan, Australia and the Czech Republic. The top two nations from the group after round robin will advance to the quarterfinals.

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