Kang apologizes for his situation

By Kim Tong-Hyung

The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang received a suspended two-year prison sentence for fleeing the scene after crashing a car into a guardrail while driving under the influence of alcohol.

The sentence handed down Friday by the Seoul Central District Court was a heavier punishment than the 15 million won ($13,000) fine prosecutors had sought, but still clears the 29-year-old Kang to join the Pirates for the baseball season.

“I am sorry, and I am repenting a lot,” Kang said after the ruling.

Kang was previously fined twice on drunk driving-related charges in 2009 and 2011. He is in the third year of a four-year, $11 million contract he signed with Pittsburgh in 2015 after a stellar eight-year career in South Korean professional baseball.

Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement Friday that the team will work to secure Kang’s work visa and sit down with him before deciding whether to discipline Kang.

“We look forward to meeting with Jung Ho as soon as he is able to travel to the United States and having a serious discussion with him on this issue and how he has and will change those behaviors that led to the very serious punishment that has been levied against him in Korea,” Coonelly said.

According to police, Kang didn’t stop after driving a rented BMW into a guardrail at about 3 a.m. while returning to his Seoul hotel in December. The crash damaged the guardrail and the car. Police said Kang’s blood alcohol level at the time of the crash would have been 0.08 percent, which is above the country’s 0.05 percent legal limit.

Last summer, a 23-year-old woman said she was sexually assaulted by Kang at a hotel in Chicago. He has not been charged.

Kang had 21 home runs and 62 RBIs in 103 games in 2016 during his second season in the majors.

Cole delivers two strong innings

BRADENTON, Fla. — Backed by four early runs, Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole tossed two scoreless innings in his Grapefruit League debut and led the Bucs to a 5-2 win over the Orioles on Friday at LECOM Park.

Cole, the Pirates’ Opening Day starter, permitted two hits and a walk but prevented further damage.

“The whole atmosphere was just exciting,” Cole said. “First game’s always kind of a trip. It’s like, all right, we’re back.”

Top Pirates prospect Tyler Glasnow, competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, allowed one run on three hits and two walks while striking out two in 12⁄3 innings. Glasnow was scheduled to work three innings but reached his pitch limit before completing his second frame. Right-hander Drew Hutchison, Glasnow’s chief competition in the rotation battle, struck out four while allowing a hit and a walk in three scoreless innings.

Pittsburgh jumped out to a quick lead against Baltimore starter Wade Miley, who left the game in the second inning after being hit in the left forearm by an Elias Diaz comebacker. The first four Pirates hitters reached safely, and David Freese started the scoring with a two-run tapper mishandled by Orioles catcher Welington Castillo. Shortstop prospect Kevin Newman plated another run with a single to left. Phil Gosselin’s second-inning single to center off reliever David Hess drove in Max Moroff and gave the Bucs a 4-0 lead.

The Pirates host Boston this afternoon at 1:05 p.m. Chad Kuhl is set to start and also scheduled to pitch are Tony Watson, Daniel Hudson, Wade LeBlanc, Jared Hughes and Pat Light.

— From Mirror reports