But Kang said Wednesday he wasn't trying to put down Mercer and was trying to convey he's most comfortable at shortstop.
"That was a little bit of a misinterpretation. I don't want to steal his position. It's all about competition," Kang said, per MLB.com. "I want to have a friendly competition with all of the players and work along with all of them -- like a synergy.
"It's not like I'm stealing it, but if I get a chance, I would like to play shortstop. If I get another opportunity at another position, I'm open to playing another position."
The expectations are certainly riding high for Kang, who is coming off a 40-homer season in Korea. Kang also put himself in a tough position a few weeks ago when he was quoted as saying he "can play better than" Pirates shortstop
Although, Huntington said Kang was "absolutely horrified" how the quote about winning the shortstop job over Mercer was portrayed in the U.S., per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
"The one mistake I made through Kang process is not coming out and saying how much we like Jordy Mercer," Huntington told MLB Network Radio. "We like him."
Huntington said Kang is "most comfortable" at shortstop, but added he is going to play at second and third base in spring training as well.
While Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang is on his way to Pittsburgh to finalize a deal with the
"If I get an opportunity to play consistently, I think I can play better (than Mercer)," Kang told the Yonhap News Agency. "I think I’ll have to talk to the team about my position, but I’d like to play shortstop."
Mercer played in a career-high 149 games last season, batting .255 with 12 home runs, 27 doubles and 55 RBI. Kang hit .356 with 40 home runs and 117 RBI in 117 games in 2014 for Nexen of the Korea Baseball Organization.
If Pittsburgh completes the deal with Kang, it seems Mercer views Kang's confidence as a plus for the team.
"It's good to see he has got confidence coming in," Mercer said. "All of us can use that, for sure. If we all set our sights on one goal and have confidence in our ability, the sky is the limit for this team. So, it’s exciting to see it."
Mercer put his team on the board with an RBI groundout in the second inning and followed it up with a solo blast in the fifth. He was just 2 for 26 in his last eight games entering play Saturday. Mercer has hit .257/.308/.390 with 12 home runs and 55 RBI in 502 at-bats.
Mercer returns on a roll. He was 14 of 36 in his last eight games before going down.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|10/1/2014 vs San Francisco|
|vs San Francisco||20||6||1||.333||.600||.300|
|vs Cueto (Career)||19||6||1||.474||.316||.316|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
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|More Batting Stats|
|Postseason Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
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