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Korean team loses two for Olympics
by Thomas St. John

Korea will take a strong team to Sydney, but it lost two of its top reserves when the players refused to take the Olympic drug test.

Pitcher Cho Young-joon of Yonsei University and outfielder Lee Hyun-kon were taken off the team and replaced by Dongkook University outfielder Park Han-I and Dankook University pitcher Lee Seung-hak.

Both players were apparently upset at not being picked as starters and did not show up for the testing, saying they were busy with training. The Korea Baseball Association, the governing body for amateur baseball in Korea, already had submitted urine samples for all the other players on the team.

Cho said he does not regret leaving the team because he did not expect to play much. He also said he had not been at his best for his university team because of his involvement in other international tournaments, and he wanted to do his best for a big game against rival Korea University.

In the Olympic qualifying tournament last year in Seoul, Cho dominated by striking out 17 and allowing just two hits in 1123 innings. Cho is widely considered the best amateur pitcher in Korea. He throws a strong fastball in the low 90s with an above-average slider and curve.

The Korean team also will not feature any Korean players who are in the American minor leagues, including such touted prospects as Red Sox righthander Sun-Woo Kim and Cubs first baseman Hee-Seop Choi.

Most people involved in Korean baseball, on both the amateur and professional side, believe Korean players should help the domestic league prosper. The committee is rewarding those who stayed at home and regards players outside Korea as nonentities.

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