One of the biggest names of Korea Baseball, Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-soo Choo has returned to Korea and expressed his desire to play for Korea in the World Baseball Classic.
“I’m really eager to play in the WBC for Korea,” Choo said. “I hope that my team will give me a chance to play.”
However, there are two questions. First, the Indians may not allow Choo to compete in the WBC because it won’t give him a chance to get a military exemption.
In 2006, the South Korean government gave military exemptions to the players if the team finished in the top four at the WBC. Korea reached the semifinals; let the players to earn military exemptions. However, this time government will not give military exemptions for the WBC 2009, even if the team wins the championship.
Choo, 26-year-old is required to serve in the military for two years before he turns 30, need the exemption in order to let his baseball career not interrupt, but if there is no chance to exemption, Indians probably said no.
The other reason is the possibility to injury.
Due to WBC take place from March 5 to 23, before the MAJOR League regular season, and playing in the WBC would cause Choo to start his regular conditioning and preparation early and might hurt him.
Pitcher Chan-ho Park of the Los Angeles Dodgers is a cased. He had said playing at the 2006 WBC hurt his performances during the MLB season. Although he threw 10 scoreless innings as a closer for Korea at the WBC and earned three saves, but he went 7-7 as a starter for the San Diego Padres during the 2006 MLB season with a 4.81 ERA.
Choo finished the 2007 with a .309 batting average, 16 homers, 66 RBIs, .397 on-base percentages and .549 slugging percentages in 94 games.