The Korea Baseball Organization issued Kang a one-year suspension Monday and ordered him to complete 300 hours of community service before considering his reinstatement, Jee-ho Yoo of the Yonhap News Agency reports.
After his career in North America stalled out, Kang is looking to return to his home country of South Korea to continue playing, but his three prior DUI convictions will delay his potential reinstatement. Given that KBO rules could have resulted in Kang serving a three-year suspension due to the arrests, the one-year ban represents a lighter penalty than anticipated for the 33-year-old infielder. Before joining the Pirates ahead of the 2015 season, Kang was one of the KBO's standout performers, as he hit .356 with 40 home runs in his final year with the Nexen (now Kiwoom) Heroes. The Heroes will retain his rights if and when he's reinstated by the league.
Kang has applied for a return to the KBO, and disciplinary proceedings will open Monday to determine how long of a suspension he will have to serve for his multiple drunk driving cases, Yoo Jee-ho of the Yonhap News Agency reports.
He could face a suspension of up to three years for his three drunk driving cases, but since his 2016 arrest happened when he wasn't a KBO player, he may only be penalized for two of the arrests, which could result in a 90-game ban. The Kiwoom Heroes still hold his rights if he is reinstated from the voluntarily retired list.
Kang is expected to pursue a minor-league deal after his return to the Korean Baseball Organization was blocked by suspensions, Jason Lee of JaysJournal.com reports.
It was reported about two weeks ago that the 33-year-old was attempting a return to his home country as he removed himself from the "voluntarily retired" list, but KBO rules dictate a minimum three-year suspension for a third-offense DUI, which Kang was found guilty of in December 2016. He had a strong showing over his first two seasons in Pittsburgh with an .838 OPS, 43 doubles and 36 homers in 229 games between 2015 and 2016, but he's since faced numerous legal issues. Kang has only 191 plate appearances and a .618 OPS over the past three years, and any potential minor-league deal is further complicated by the uncertainty of the MLB and minor-league seasons in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kang is pursuing a return to the Korea Baseball Organization after a league official confirmed Wednesday that the 33-year-old removed himself from the KBO's "voluntarily retired" list last week, Jee-ho Yoo of Yonhap News reports.
Kang found success in his first two MLB seasons with the Pirates in 2015 and 2016, but his career has been trending downward since he was found guilty of his third DUI in December 2016. The 33-year-old sat out much of the subsequent three seasons due to legal issues and injuries and was ineffective for the Pirates when available, contributing a lowly .174/.225/.393 slash line (56 wRC+) in 191 plate appearances over that stretch. Given that Kang didn't have any success landing even a minor-league contract over the winter, his desire to head back to Asia is understandable. However, any potential return to the KBO could have to wait until at least 2023, given the league's strict penalties for DUI arrests. Current KBO rules state that players who have been arrested for DUI at least three times are subject to suspensions of at least three years, which would make Kang ineligible to play until his age-36 season.
Kang has not officially signed a minor-league contract with Milwaukee, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Kang has been working out with Milwaukee's Triple-A affiliate with the goal of earning a MiLB deal, though the two sides still have some terms to iron out. Kang was cut loose by the Pirates at the beginning of August after hitting .169 with 10 homers and 24 RBI over 65 games in the majors this season.
Kang signed a minor-league contract with the Brewers on Friday, Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports reports.
Kang might have considered returning to Korea to play in the KBO, but as Sung Min Kim of The Athletic reports, he may have to serve a three-year suspension due to his three DUI's if he were to head home. Kang hit .169 with 10 home runs and a 32.4 percent strikeout rate in 185 plate appearances with the Pirates before being released Aug. 5.
Kang was released by the Pirates on Monday, Dejan Kovacevic of DKPittsburghSports.com reports.
No team was willing to acquire Kang after he was designated for assignment over the weekend, prompting the Pirates to part ways with the veteran infielder. He's appeared in 65 games this season, slashing just .169/.222/.395 with 10 home runs in 185 plate appearances.
Kang was designated for assignment Friday, Nubyjas Wilborn of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
The move is no surprise, as Kang was closing in on a $625,000 bonus if he reached 200 plate appearances. He hasn't come close to earning it, hitting just .169/.222/.395. As a 32-year-old who hasn't had success at the big-league level since 2016, he's unlikely to generate a ton of interest on waivers.
Kang could be designated for assignment within the next week, The Athletic Pittsburgh reports.
He's got 185 plate appearances this year, 15 shy of reaching a $625,000 incentive clause, and has struck out in 60 of them. While Kang has totaled 10 homers, his slash line of .169/.222/.395 speaks volumes. The Pirates are also expected to activate shortstop Erik Gonzalez (shoulder) in the coming days and will need to clear a roster spot. As a result, it looks as though Kang's days in Pittsburgh are numbered.
Kang went 1-for-2 with a two-run home run in a 6-5 loss against the Cardinals on Monday.
The 32-year-old entered as a pinch hitter during the eighth and struck out, but he remained in the game and during his second at-bat, Kang went deep to pull the Pirates within one in the 10th. The Pirates nearly tied the game following Kang's homer, but the tying run was thrown out at the plate. Kang has three home runs in his last nine games and possesses a .246 ISO, but the problem is he's batting only .184. He also has 10 homers, 24 RBI and 15 runs in 158 at-bats this season.
Kang started at shortstop and went 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts before being removed for a pinch hitter Sunday.
He's slashing .282/.300/.667 with four homers and eight RBI in his last eight starts dating back to June 27, but a 0:13 BB:K sell-out approach limits his playing time. An improved Colin Moran at third base and Kevin Newman at short also hurt Kang. Both alternatives are under club control for 2020 while Kang is not. Despite a strong spring training performance, coming back to the majors after nearly two seasons away has proven to be a challenge for the 32-year-old.
Kang went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in a 10-4 loss to the Cubs on Saturday.
The 32-year-old may have finally turned the corner. He's hit four homers in the last 10 games, but that's not really anything new. He possesses a .242 ISO this season, but the problem is Kang is only batting .179. The good news, though, is in addition to the power, he's hitting .321 over his last 10 games. Kang has hits in seven games and posted two multi-hit contests during that stretch. Overall, he has nine homers with 21 RBI and 14 runs in 145 at-bats this season.
Kang went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer in Monday's victory over the Cubs.
Kang took infielder Daniel Descalso deep in the seventh inning for his seventh homer of the season, a two-run shot that stretched the Pirates' lead to 10. Even after the homer, Kang's season line sits at an ugly .162/.225/.369 in 46 games.
Kang will start at third base and bat seventh against the Tigers on Tuesday.
Tuesday marks Kang's fifth start in June. He's 4-for-18 with a homer and four RBI since coming off the IL. The 32-year-old has made four appearances at shortstop in 2019 but has spent the majority of his time at third base. Recently his time has been muted by a combination of his own struggles and the strong offensive production of third baseman Colin Moran and shortstop Kevin Newman.
Kang went 1-for-4 with a walk in Wednesday's 8-7 loss to Atlanta.
His single to left field clocked in at 114.5 mph. Kang saw time at third base and shortstop, giving him four appearances at short. Since returning from Triple-A, he's gone 3-for-13 with a homer and two RBI. He's already whiffed four times, however, giving him a 31.3 percent strikeout rate for the season. Colin Moran has played well lately, making Kang more often an option saved for appearing off the bench. Moran and shortstop Kevin Newman are starting over Kang on Thursday.
Kang went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run in Sunday's loss to the Brewers.
Kang gave his club an early lead with a two-run blast to center field, but Milwaukee would come back to close out the series finale with a victory. The 32-year-old picked up his first base knock since returning from the injured list, so he'll look to ride that momentum into Monday's matchup with Atlanta. Kang is slashing .137/.204/.326 with five homers and 10 RBI through 33 games in 2019.
Kang will bat seventh and play shortstop Sunday against Milwaukee.
Kang has played 3.1 innings at shortstop this season but last started a game at the position at the major-league level back in 2015. It's odd to see him move back up the defensive spectrum at age 32, especially as he's not considered a particularly strong defender at third base, but he's currently the only player on the Pirates' roster other than Kevin Newman with any significant experience at the position. In any case, Kang will have to dramatically improve upon his .132/.202/.297 season slash line if he's to be fantasy-relevant at any position.
Kang (side) was activated from the injured list as expected Saturday.
Kang struggled to an ugly 133/.240/.300 slash line prior to landing on the injured list in mid-May. He's expected to serve on the short side of a platoon with Colin Moran at third base now that he's healthy.
Kang (side) is expected to be activated from the IL on Saturday, Dejan Kovacevic of DKPS reports.
He's hitting .444 with one homer and six RBI in 27 at-bats for Triple-A Indianapolis on his rehab assignment. Perhaps more encouragingly, he holds a 4:8 BB:K. Kang struggled to an 8:31 BB:K in 90 MLB at-bats prior to his injury. The 32-year-old led the Grapefruit League with seven homers but flamed out in regular-season play. He's played three games at both shortstop and third base for Triple-A Indy and will likely serve as a platoon partner for the hot-hitting Colin Moran at third base.
Kang (side) will join Triple-A Indianapolis for his minor-league rehab assignment Sunday, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports.
Kang has been on the injured list for almost two weeks with the left side strain but is nearing his return to the Pirates. The 32-year-old was 0-for-22 in the nine games prior to the injury and has a .133 average this season, so he could spend a little extended time on the rehab stint to try and straighten things out.
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