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Too many curveballs for Moun Chanthorn

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Cambodia's Moun Chanthorn pitches a curveball against Myanmar in the Asia Cup on May 27. CBAF

CAMBODIAN National Baseball team captain Moun Chanthorn has been placed on the disabled list due to a strained elbow. The right-hand pitcher picked up the injury while playing Friday for the Royals team, who represent Eastern Cambodia, against their national opponents the Braves.

Moun Chanthorn had suffered elbow problems during Cambodia's game against Myanmar in the 8th Asian Baseball Cup May 27. The national team doctor has confirmed that the latest injury will keep the 22-year-old out of action for at least two weeks.

Hailing from Banteay Meanchey province, Moun Chanthorn has played baseball since 2004, emerging as the Kingdom's top pitcher, while also ranking fifth in hitting. Tom Dill, a baseball coach from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California, warned the Cambodian Baseball Federation (CBAF) not to let its pitchers throw too many curveballs, as it can cause serious damage to the arm muscles.

Moun Chanthorn, whose best pitch is the curveball, was initially reluctant to take the mound Friday, but was determined to help the Royals draw level with their opponents, having lost to the Braves in their first two games and winning the third.

Head coach of the national team Savoeun Nhoeb was deeply concerned about the star hurler's condition, hoping that he will recover in time for the Asia Cup in Dubai, September 28, where they will face archrivals Myanmar. "Being without Chanthorn at the tournament will [make it difficult] for our team to beat Myanmar," said the head coach. "He's our best pitcher, and great leader."

Moun Chanthorn has shown his frustration at being kept off the field but will try to help the Royals in the meantime overcome their national counterparts through a coaching position.

Meanwhile, the Royals' new pitcher Teng Sakan, who was traded last Friday, helped inspire the team to a 11-2 spanking of the Braves on Saturday. The Braves were missing the skills of their expert shortstop Houey Sipho, who seemed to be suffering from heat exhaustion. The Royals then rallied Sunday to complete a come-from-behind 3-2 victory, to go up 4-2 in the series, having won the four straight games.

The Braves have looked like a caged tiger since the trade Friday and can't seem to figure out a winning strategy.
However, the introduction of right-hand fastballer Chea Theara Monday should produce a change in fortunes, with crowds amassing to watch the promising young talent.

The Royals also prepared for the debut of second baseman Sunn Vikea, nicknamed the Lightening Kid. He is reported to be the fastest of any player in the league today, with a batting average of .389 and 12 stolen bases.

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