Pirates' Jung Ho Kang likely out for the season after suspended sentence upheld

Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang has missed all of this season due to issues following his third arrest in South Korea for driving under the influence of alcohol . It appears that will remain the case for the foreseeable future, too. 

Thursday, Kang's suspended sentence was upheld in court in Seoul, South Korea, dismissing Kang's appeal of an eight-month prison sentence , reports the Associated Press (via the Post-Gazette). 

Further complicating matters for Kang is that the sentence is suspended for two years. That is, he'll avoid the eight months in prison if he isn't charged with another DUI in the two years following sentencing -- but in the meantime South Korea hasn't granted him a visa to leave in order to go to the United States to play baseball

So, from the standpoint of avoiding prison, Kang's sentence is a good one, but it looks like in order to avoid prison, he might not be able to return to Major League Baseball until the 2019 season -- depending upon how the visa issue continues to shake out. Surely, Kang's lawyers will continue to fight for a visa to be granted, but the chances of him returning to MLB any time soon seem pretty thin. 

Kang, 30, is a career .273/.355/.483 hitter in the majors with 43 doubles and 36 home runs in 837 plate appearances across his two seasons. The Pirates are off to a 17-23 start this season without him, though missing him is far from their only issue. 

Kang is on the Pirates' restricted list, so he's not costing them a roster spot, getting paid or collecting service time. 

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