(WBC) Australia ‘ready for everything’ despite late S. Korean pitcher announcement: manager

TOKYO, Hours before taking on South Korea to begin the World Baseball Classic (WBC), Australia manager David Nilsson said Thursday he was caught a bit off guard when he found out who the opposing starting pitcher will be late the previous night.

Nilsson, however, wasn't surprised by that antic itself.

"I wasn't surprised when they changed the starting pitcher. You know, that seemed to be (a) consistent strategy for South Korea," Nilsson said at his pregame press conference at Tokyo Dome on Thursday. The first pitch is set for just past noon at the dome. "They nominate one person, and they change and think that they're going to get some advantage. Just doesn't work that way."

South Korea waited until the 9 p.m. deadline Wednesday to announce sidearm pitcher Ko Young-pyo as its starter in the first Pool B game of the tournament here. Australia had revealed left-hander Jack O'Loughlin as its starting pitcher Wednesday morning.

Nilsson seemed perturbed by South Korea's late announcement, saying: "Too late last night to find out there's a new starting pitcher, you know, whatever. We're ready for everything."

However, it had long been an open secret in the Korean camp that Ko would get the ball against Australia, given that he is an extreme groundball pitcher and South Korean coaches believe Australians will struggle against Ko's breaking balls coming out of an unusual delivery.

As for choosing O'Loughlin as his starter, Nilsson said he "just had a hunch" that the 22-year-old was ready for his moment. He also hinted that O'Loughlin will be on a short leash.

"It's a three-batter minimum. And I'm just going to review how he pitches," Nilsson said, "We'll just go through the first three hitters, and we'll take the game for there. If he's doing well, he will get a fourth hitter. If not, I will turn it over (to the bullpen)."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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