INDIANAPOLIS — Jung Ho Kang never got a chance to test his left shoulder defensively during his rehab outing on Thursday.
But that’s not a big deal because testing his shoulder at the plate was the bigger concern, Kang said. And with that being said, the Pirates third baseman passed his first test.
Kang hit a solo home run in the fourth inning and went 1-for-3 in the first seven-inning game of a doubleheader against Louisville. He also had an RBI groundout in the first inning. And those at-bats came against Amir Garrett, the second-ranked prospect in the Cincinnati organization.
In the fourth inning, Kang fell behind 0-2 before working the count to 2-2. He then fouled off a pitch before hitting a solo home run 425 feet to left-centerfield.
“It was 0-2 so I was trying to swing at anything in the zone,” Kang said. “And on the 2-2 count luckily there was a mistake and I had a good pitch to hit and hit a home run.”
Kang worked a 3-0 count in his first inning at-bat, with Pedro Florimon at third base with one out. Kang fouled off the next pitch before hitting an RBI groundout to second base.
He lined out sharply to centerfielder Juan Perez in the sixth inning, with the Louisville centerfielder making a nice catch running back to take away what appeared was going to be an extra-base hit.
“I thought he looked good at the plate, and I thought he looked good in pregame and BP, driving the ball the other way which he can do well,” Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor said. “I thought he put some good swings on tonight.”
Kang was put on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 19 after injuring his left shoulder sliding into second base against the Marlins. He’s not eligible to return to the Pirates until Sept. 4.
Kang will do field work on Friday, but not play in that night’s game. He will play on Saturday, and be evaluated again before a set schedule is made. However, Treanor speculated that Kang may likely join Indianapolis in Louisville on Sunday.
“I think I will play a couple more games here,” Kang said. “I’m ready now but I just have to wait to be activated.”
Kang did not get any work at third base. The closest play that came his way was a line drive single that was hit well over his head.
“There wasn’t any balls that come at me so hopefully next time I get more,” Kang said.
This story will be updated with comments from Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor following the team’s doubleheader.