10 baseball teams return home after spring training

Ten Korean Baseball Organization teams are returning home this week after working hard overseas to prepare for the 2024 season.

Excluding KT Wiz, nine teams traveled overseas in late January to conduct training. KT began spring training in Gijang, Busan.

The LG Twins and NC Dinos stayed and trained in Arizona, USA. The Samsung Lions also held their spring camp in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.

The seven teams, excluding LG, NC and Samsung, switched locations in the middle of last month and began the second round of spring training, focusing on adjusting to the real world.

The Kiwoom Heroes, who were training in Arizona, USA, moved to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, while the Doosan Bears (Sydney), Hanwha Eagles (Melbourne), and KIA Tigers (Canberra) moved to Japan from Australia. Doosan traveled to Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan, while KIA and Hanwha traveled to Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.

Lotte Giants and KT, who had been training in Guam, also set up a second spring camp in Okinawa.

SSG Landers, which held its first training camp in Vero Beach, Florida, USA, held its second camp in Chiayi City, Taiwan.

Of the 10 teams, LG,

The defending champions of the 2023 season, was the first to return home via Incheon International Airport at dawn on April 4. Hanwha returned in the afternoon of the same day.

On the 5th, NC returned in the morning and Lotte Giants in the afternoon, followed by Kiwoom, KT, Doosan, and KIA on the 6th. On the afternoon of the 7th, 스포츠토토 Samsung and SSG return to Korea.

The 10 teams will play a series of exhibition games to get a feel for the game, before starting the exhibition games on the 9th.

The center of attention in the exhibition games will be the return of the “Korean Monster” Ryu Hyun-jin (Hanwha), who is returning to Korea after 12 years.

After signing an eight-year, 17 billion won contract with Hanwha, the largest contract in history, Ryu flew to Okinawa, Japan, on March 23 and quickly improved his condition despite his late arrival to spring training.

After throwing 45 pitches in a bullpen session shortly after arriving in Okinawa, Ryu threw 60 pitches in the bullpen on Feb. 26 and 65 pitches in a live pitching session on Feb. 2 with batters standing on the mound.

Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho announced that he will start Ryu in the opening game against LG on March 23. Ryu will make one appearance in the blue-and-white game that will precede the exhibition game and two in the exhibition game.

The exhibition game will be the debut of a new rule that will be introduced this season.

The most eye-catching element is the Automatic Ball-Strike System (ABS), which has been dubbed the ‘robot umpire’.

ABS is a system that tracks the trajectory of a pitcher’s ball with cameras installed on the field, and a machine determines whether it crosses the strike zone. The umpire receives the machine’s decision through earphones and relays it to the umpire.

The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) enlarges the left and right sides of the strike zone by 2 centimeters on each side of home plate.

The top and bottom of the strike zone are based on a percentage of each player’s height. The upper boundary is 56.35% of the player’s height and the lower boundary is 27.64% of the player’s height.

The base size will also increase. It will be 18 inches (45.72 centimeters) long and wide, up from 15 inches (38.1 centimeters).

The pitch clock,

Which limits the time between pitching and batting preparation, will be piloted. Pitchers will have 18 seconds from the time they receive the ball from the catcher to pitch with no runners on base and 23 seconds with runners on base.

The KBO will pilot the pitch clock in the first half of the season and decide whether to implement it in the second half.

The pilot games will begin on Sept. 9 with LG-KT (Suwon KT Wiz Park), KIA-NC (Changwon NC Park), SSG-Lotte (Sajik Stadium), Samsung-Hanwha (Daejeon Hanwha Life Eagles Park), and Kiwoom-Dusan (Icheon Bears Park).

The exhibition matches will continue through the 19th, with 10 games per team.

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