In the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), Korea’s first opponent, Australia’s center hitter, decided not to participate. 

The US’Tampa Bay Times’ reported on the 22nd 바카라 (Korean time) that Tampa Bay Rays infielder Curtis Mead (23) will not join the WBC Australian team. 

Mead, who ended the season with an elbow injury at Triple-A Durham Bulls affiliated with Tampa Bay last year, decided to participate in Tampa Bay spring training instead of participating in the WBC. 

Right-handed infielder Mead made his debut in the Australian Professional Baseball (ABL) at the age of 17 in the 2017-2018 season. Using his performance at this time as a stepping stone, he signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018, came to Tampa Bay as a post-season trade in 2019, and reached the Triple A stage last year. 

Mead is a top-class prospect ranked 35th in the 2022 prospect rankings by the MLB.com pipeline and ranked second in the Tampa Bay team, and is evaluated as a strong hitter with both accuracy and long hitting power. After being promoted to Triple-A Durham at the end of June last year, he played 20 games with a batting average of .278, 20 hits, 3 homers, 14 RBIs, and an OPS of .863. 

Mead, who was named to Tampa Bay’s 40-man roster after last season, is likely to make his major league debut this year. As the season is more important than ever, he focuses on preparing for the season instead of participating in the WBC. 

Australia’s closer Liam Hendricks (34, Chicago White Sox), who recorded 115 saves in the major leagues, was also diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was unable to participate in the WBC. Due to a type of blood cancer, Hendricks began chemotherapy on the 10th. 

Following Hendricks, the midfield, which was expected to lead the batting line, was dropped, and the Australian national team’s main pitching players left one after another. There is not much time left until the final entry submission deadline on the 8th of next month, but Australia has not yet announced the WBC preliminary list. 

The situation of Australia, which failed to build a full force, is not bad for Korea. South Korea, which belongs to Group B with Australia, will meet Australia for the first time in the WBC on March 9 at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. Prior to the match against Japan on the 10th, we will focus our efforts on winning against Australia to advance to the quarterfinals given to the first and second place in the group. Coach Lee Kang-cheol and the national team coaching staff are fully prepared by analyzing the Australian professional baseball game on-site at the beginning of this month

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