According to MLB.com Pirates beat writer Adam Berry, Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang will play third base, hit, and run all in one game today at Pirate City. Kang is only running to first base, but it is still a big day for him. This will be the first time the soon to be 29 year old has done all three in a game. This news comes after Kang played 5 innings in the field on Monday, March 28th. He played in a minor league game, he did not hit or run the bases obviously. It was reported that he looked very good in the field, but is still working to get 100%.
This is a big step to Kang beginning to play everyday again. The key for him will be running all the bases, along with playing third and hitting in extended spring training and then minor league action. The big thing will be to see how his knee handles full torque while swinging, and how his knee responds to turning on the bases at full speed. The biggest factor will be how his knee holds up while sliding. If he can get through these tests in the minor leagues then there really should be no worries once he reaches the MLB level again. This return to running should put Kang on pace to return some time in late April or may. The third baseman hit .287/.355/.461 last season and looks like he will bat third behind Andrew McCutchen and before Starling Marte in the lineup once he makes his return. I would not worry much about Kang as a hitter. The knee may bother him at first, but I do not think it will effect his approach and his ability to square up the ball. Just remember each day that passes is a day that Jung-Ho is closer to making the Bucs lineup complete. Now that he is playing everyday it is becoming more and more realistic.