Pirates' Jung Ho Kang placed on restricted list as he awaits visa
March 11, 2017 10:52 AM
Ahn Young-joon / AP
Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang arrives at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea, Feb. 22. Kang appeared in the Korean court as judges began hearing arguments in a trial over charges that the baseball star fled the scene after slamming a car into a guardrail while driving under the influence of alcohol.
By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BRADENTON, Fla. — The probability third baseman Jung Ho Kang will play for the Pirates on opening day continues to plummet. On Friday, a week after receiving a suspended sentence for his third DUI in South Korea, Kang was officially placed on the major league restricted list.
Pirates president Frank Coonelly described the move as “a procedural matter.” Kang has yet to receive his visa for travel to the United States, and there is no known deadline for that decision.
“It is neither a statement of pessimism nor optimism that Jung Ho will get back in time to report to Bradenton and prepare to be ready for opening day,” Coonelly said Saturday. “It says nothing on that topic. It just is a reflection of the reality that he is not here today, on March 11.”
The restricted list is for players unable to play for reasons other than injury. While on the restrict list, players do not count toward the 25- or 40-man rosters, do not accrue service time, and are not paid. Kang, 29, is due to make $2.75 million this season. Players aren’t paid their regular salaries during spring training, so it’ll only be costly for Kang if he misses regular-season days.
Coonelly said he spoke with Kang’s representatives on Friday. He stressed the move is not a disciplinary measure — it simply frees up roster room. Coonelly also said the Pirates intend to wait until meeting with Kang in person before determined whether to levy additional punishment.
Kang already has missed a month of spring training. He was arrested Dec. 2 in Seoul, South Korea, after smashing his rented BMW into a guard rail and fleeing the scene as the passenger, identified only by the surname Yoo, took blame for the crash by claiming he was driving.
Kang was dropped from South Korea’s World Baseball Classic roster Jan 4. After a judge rejected summary proceeding and demanded a formal trial for Feb. 22, it was clear Kang would miss at least part of Pirates spring training. A fine and an eight-month suspended sentence were handed down March 2.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.
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