Neal Huntington Updates Jung Ho Kang’s Status
Pirate GM Neal Huntington gave an update on the status of Jung Ho Kang on Sunday
On Sunday morning, Neal Huntington updated the status of Jung Ho Kang. Neal Hutington told reporters that Kang is still in South Korea and waiting for a new work visa. This comes on the heels of Kang receiving a suspended 8-month prison sentence earlier this month.
“He continues to work out and work hard on his own. The challenge is he’s in a cold-weather city. We continue to stay in touch with him. He’s doing everything he can do,” Huntington told reporters on Sunday. Jung Ho Kang has not been able to face live pitching. Due to this, he will not be part of the Pirates’ Opening Day roster.
Neal Huntington also said that Kang will still require some version of Spring Training upon arriving in the states. The big problem, though, remains that there is no timetable for Kang to get his new visa and be able to return to the United States.
Once Kang does return to the states he will begin to load up on at bats. Once the Pirates determine he has had enough at bats to get ready for the season, he will join the Major League team. You can read more from Huntington here.
Jung Ho Kang not being ready for Opening Day opens up a roster spot for someone. Most likely, that someone will be super utility man Alen Hanson.
Entering Spring Training Hanson was ready to battle with Phil Gosselin for the final spot on the Pirate bench. However, now that Kang will not be ready for Opening Day both players should make the team. Especially since both players are having a strong spring, both at the plate and in the field, and Hanson is also out of options.
This will also open the door for David Freese to be the everyday third baseman to start the season. It also makes the Pirates giving a contract extension to Freese last summer an even smarter move.
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The Pirates project to have one of the best lineups in the National League in 2017. However, this is dependent upon Jung Ho Kang being a member of that lineup. Hopefully, he will get his visa issues resolved and join the Pirates ASAP.