The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Thursday afternoon that third baseman Jung-Ho Kang has been granted a work visa by the U.S. government and he is set to rejoin the Pirates.
Kang will need time before he’s actually back in the majors, but this is a big first step. With all that has gone on since his last game with the Pirates, including a disastrous stint in winter ball against Triple-A quality pitching this off-season, he’s not going to be ready to face Major League pitching anytime soon.
Once he does begin his rehab work, which will be the equivalent of a Spring Training for him down at Pirate City, Tim Williams will be there often to provide updates. Once we see his progress, then you’ll get a better idea of when he could possibly rejoin the Pirates. I’m sure that progress will include stops at minor league cities along the way, with Indianapolis being the most likely destination, though possibly not his first stop.
Here is the official statement from the Pirates:
The Pittsburgh Pirates announced today that infielder Jung Ho Kang has been granted a work visa by the United States government, has re-entered the United States and will rejoin the Pirates organization.
Kang, a 31-year old South Korean native, has been on the Major League Baseball restricted list since the beginning of the 2017 season after being denied re-entry into the United States following his conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol in Seoul, South Korea. “After a lengthy process, we are pleased that Jung Ho has been allowed to re-enter to the United States,” said Pirates President, Frank Coonelly. “We are encouraged by the steps that Jung Ho has taken to date and are hopeful that having the game he loves taken away from him for more than a year has driven home the reality that he must make better life decisions as we move forward together. As we have communicated to him throughout this process, we will work to provide Jung Ho with the resources and support necessary for him to meet the high expectations that we have for him as a member of our organization and our community.”
After fulfilling obligations under the Treatment Program to which he agreed in January 2017, Kang will report to Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. He will remain on the restricted list while he works his way back into condition to participate in Major League games.