Former Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang was suspended for a year on Monday by the Korea Baseball Organization. Kang's ban will begin if and when he signs a contract with a KBO team. As part of his punishment, he'll also be required to perform 300 hours of community service, according to the Associated Press, with a focus on drunk-driving cases. The suspension stems from KBO's belief that his off-the-field behavior, including repeated drunk-driving offenses, has tarnished the league's image.
Kang, 33, became the first KBO player to leap directly to the majors when he made the transition in 2015. He found instant success, hitting .273/.355/.483 with 36 home runs in his first 229 games with the Pirates, a stretch that saw him miss time due to a knee injury sustained on a Chris Coghlan slide. His career entered a tailspin midway through the 2016 season when he was accused of sexual assault. He was then arrested that winter for DUI, his third, and he was sidelined for the entire 2017 season after failing to secure a visa.
Kang resurfaced for a brief stint in the majors in 2018, but he played a more prominent role in the failures of the 2019 Pirates. In 65 games, he hit .169/.222/.395 with nearly six times as many strikeouts as walks. He was released by the Pirates in August.
Kang has since sought a return to KBO, where he hit .298/.383/.504 over the first nine seasons of his career. It should be noted that Kang played for only one franchise in the KBO, but that the franchise in question had three names during his stint: first they were the Hyundai Unicorns, then the Woori Heroes, and now they're the Nexen Heroes.