INDIANAPOLIS – Jung-Ho Kang kicked off his game rehab assignment in an attempt to come back from a gruesome lower leg injury on Monday night in Indianapolis. After a takeout slide in September, Kang had surgery to repair a displaced lateral tibial plateau fracture and lateral meniscal repair. His return tonight is a huge step, getting back on the field in upper level action.

“[The rehab] has been very positive,” Kang said through an interpreter before the game. “I have got such great support from the coaching staff, the trainers and the organization. I feel good now.”

Pirates’ General Manager Neal Huntington said that it was important to get Kang some action in those upper levels.

“We felt like it was time to get him out against some upper level competition,” Huntington said. “It was a trauma surgeon that put him back together again, not an orthopedic surgeon. It’s an injury that we’ve never seen before in our time in baseball, and I’m not sure there are many people who have seen this type of injury. He’s a sample size of one. His progression has been remarkable, and we’ve allowed him to kind of help us decide what the next step will be. He has literally been a day by day build, and to get him back out playing in a Triple-A game on April 18th is truly remarkable, and a testament to him, a testament to our guys, and ultimately the trauma surgeon who put him together.”

For Kang, patience is the hardest part, but not as hard as watching the Pirates open the 2016 season without him.

“Just learning to be patient was the challenging part,” Kang said. “Also, missing opening day was huge for me.”

Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor said that Kang would play seven innings at third base on Monday. He would then have Tuesday off with an early morning game, followed by back-to-back games on Wednesday and Thursday. The assignment would be re-evaluated after that. Even with the off day on Tuesday, Kang will still come in early and take ground balls and put in a normal work day.

“It’s plotted out for him,” Treanor said. “We’ll see how he responds every day and go from there if we need to adjust.”

Treanor is also encouraged by Kang’s eagerness to get back out on the field and continue his comeback.

“He didn’t flinch at all [when we told him about the off day work],” Treanor said. “He said, ‘I need my work.’ He did that in the spring. Anytime we asked him to do something in the spring and everyday we asked him to do something he was on board and wanted to do more.”

Treanor said that Kang will play in the allotted innings with zero restrictions. He also confirmed that he will be available for pinch-hitting on certain off days. He will pinch-hit on those days, regardless of situation and if a pinch-hitter would typically be used just to get the at bat and to get him into situations.

Kang is still working on the fine parts of the game as getting the all important lateral movements back, but he’s pleased with the progress.

“I think that I am on the right track [with movements],” Kang said. “I was working on sliding too. It is going well.”

Stay tuned for game coverage in the Prospect Watch and updates as the assignment progresses.

IMPORTANT: You will need to update your password after the switch to the new server in order to log in and comment. Go to the Password Reset Page to change your password.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I am anxious to see Kang return to the lineup in Pittsburgh, but I also wonder how long the Pirates will continue to keep ‘Cutch in the 2 hole and Freese in the 3 hole? The thought to get ‘Cutch more AB’s was alright except it did not take into consideration the fact that ‘Cutch has started slowly in April in at least 2 of the last 3 years, and the 3rd year was no great shakes either.

    Jaso has been very strong at leadoff, ‘Cutch only has 4 RBI (2 coming on his own HR’s), and Freese is hitting over .300 but has only 1 RBI so far. Polanco continues to hit and get on base otherwise, as does Harrison. Alternating them in the top of the order based on whether a RHP or LHP is on the mound could be of benefit, and add some much-needed speed at the top of the order.

  2. Be nice to get Kang back by early to mid May! Freese as a bench player w Joyce will really help this team. Any ideas on who will get sent down when Kang and Hughes come off the DL. I personally hope it’s Locke he sucks.

  3. Taillon threw 89-53 pitches/strikes when he was pulled 4.1 in the fifth inning. He gave up 7 hits many were sharp singles. No walks, 8-2 on Groundouts/flyouts. Knudson was great in relief. Stallings made a great pick-off at 1B. There were two runners at 2B and 1B. They took their leads. Josh Bell was playing off 1B but sneaked up to take Stallings quick pick off throw before the runner could get back. TV announcer screamed at the exciting play.

    Great to see Kang back. He scored the first run (of 4 runs scored in the 6th inning) and was excited going back to the dugout where he was greeted by teammates. Indy won the game 4-2, Knudson getting the win.

  4. Indy web site has to be nearly burning up with what has to be a record number of folks from Pittsburgh monitoring the game through the web site. Anyone at the game? Looks like Tallion did not do too bad even though he probably reached his 90 pitch maximum before he finished the 5th inning. So far, Kang 0-2. Hey, its his first “live” game in a while.

  5. Great to have Kang back playing. Tough injury and hard recovery but he seems to have successfully beaten it.

Comments are closed.