|View single post by lobo316|
|Posted: Fri Mar 24th, 2017 09:14 pm||
|The Pittsburgh Pirates were already expecting to be without Jung Ho Kang on Opening Day, but the infielder's legal woes may have just put his entire 2017 season in jeopardy.
Kang, who was recently given a suspended eight-month sentence for a DUI in his native South Korea, was reportedly denied a working visa to enter the United States, according to Korean baseball journalist Sung Min Kim, who cited a Korean report from Naver Sports.
The Pirates have not issued comment on the visa report, though general manager Neal Huntington said Thursday it was "unrealistic" to expect Kang in the lineup on Opening Day.
"I don't know," manager Clint Hurdle told MLB Network Radio on Friday morning when asked about the chances of Kang playing this season.
The 29-year-old Kang plead guilty to the charge of fleeing the scene of a DUI in February, but stayed in Korea and was reportedly appealing his sentence in the hopes of getting a visa. Earlier this month the Pirates placed him on the restricted list, a move president Frank Coonelly told MLB.com's J. Scott Butheurs was procedural given he wasn't in camp.
Kang was arrested by police in the South Korean capital of Seoul in November and charged with fleeing the scene of a DUI. Police revealed that his blood alcohol level at the time of the accident was 0.084, well above the country's legal limit of 0.05; they also added it was his third DUI-related charge since 2009. In February he agreed to enter treatment for alcohol issues.
Kang also faces potential legal trouble stateside, where a 23-year-old Chicago woman levied sexual assault allegations against him last July. That alleged incident remains under investigation, and he has not been charged with any crimes.
Including this coming season, Kang - scheduled to make $2.75 million in 2017 - has another two years left on his four-year, $11-million deal with Pittsburgh, plus a 2019 club option. The infielder finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2015 after hitting .287/.355/.461 with 15 homers over 126 games.