With a little help from his friends, Samsung Lions pitcher Won Tae-in has been working out in Miami since December, gearing up for both the new Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) season and also the World Baseball Classic (WBC).

Won and two KT Wiz pitchers who also made the national team, So Hyeong-jun and Ko Young-pyo, have been training with former Wiz pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne at the Cuban pitcher’s home in the Florida city. Despite not being re-signed by the Wiz after three seasons in the KBO, Despaigne generously invited Ko and So to work out with him this winter. So then reached out to Won to join them. 메이저사이트

“This has been a really fun experience,” Won said Tuesday, when reached in Florida. “Unlike in previous years, I’ve had to ramp up quickly. And I’ve been training in an optimal environment.”

Miami also happens to be the site of the semifinals and the championship final for the WBC. LoanDepot Park, home of the Miami Marlins, will host those games.

“I stopped by LoanDepot Park a few days ago when we went out in town,” Won said. “Young-pyo, Hyeong-jun and I all talked about how we’d love to come back here. You’ve always got to have confidence. My ultimate goal at the WBC is to pitch at LoanDepot Park.”

But first things first: Korea will have to get out of the preliminary round and then the quarterfinals, all of which will be played at Tokyo Dome in the Japanese capital.

In Pool B, Korea will face Japan, Australia, China and the Czech Republic. The top two nations after round robin action will reach the quarterfinals. They will be up against the top two teams from Pool A, which features Cuba, Chinese Taipei, Italy, Panama and the Netherlands.

“This is going to be a really important year,” Won said. “I must get myself into top form by March for the WBC, and I’ve never had to do this before. I’ve been putting so much effort into my offseason programs.”

At Despaigne’s home gym, Won and the two fellow KBO pitchers have been joined by an All-Star closer from Cuba, Aroldis Chapman.

One of the hardest throwers in major league history, Chapman, nicknamed “Cuban Missile,” is now a free agent after a subpar 2022 season with the New York Yankees. Won said Chapman brought his personal trainer with him to Despaigne’s place.

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