Pirates waiting, not giving up, on Kang

By John Mehno

For the Mirror

PITTSBURGH — Jung Ho Kang is ready to play baseball again. Just not for the Pirates.

The Pirates said Sunday that Kang has arrived in the Dominican Republic for 90 days of workouts and games with Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League.

“Our focus is getting him competitive again, getting him back up to the speed of the game again,” general manager Neal Huntington said before Sunday’s 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Pirates are hoping Kang will be able to secure a work visa to enter the United States in time for next season. He was not able to get that document this year.

His problems stem from a third DUI conviction in his native South Korea. That was further complicated when he tried to flee from police, then attempted to claim someone else was driving.

Kang had another off-the-field situation during the 2015 season. A woman in Chicago filed a police complaint claiming that Kang drugged her after the two met via an Internet dating service. No charges were filed in that case.

Kang was on the restricted list this season because of his inability to report. He forfeited his $2.5 million salary. He is due to be paid $2.75 million next season.

If the Pirates can’t get him into the country, they will void the contract and look for a new third baseman.

“We’ll need to know early in the offseason, for sure,” Huntington said.

The last week

The Pirates are off today and will play their final two home games on Tuesday and Wednesday against Baltimore.

The Pirates will pitch Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl.

The weekend rotation for the last series at Washington hans’t been set yet. Gerrit Cole would be on his regular turn and will probably pitch on Friday.

Clint Hurdle said he probably won’t start Steven Brault or Tyler Glasnow again this season, but they will probably work out of the bullpen.

Whirlwind

Rookie outfielder Jordan Luplow started this season with the Curve, then moved up to Class AAA Indianapolis before reaching the major leagues.

On Saturday, he was named the organization’s minor league player of the year.

“I haven’t had much time to think about it,” he said. “My goal was just to get on the 40-man roster.”

Mehno can be reached at: johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

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