As Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang works his way back to the majors while participating in his own personal Spring Training this month in Bradenton, Florida, it’s a time of mixed emotions for many Pirates fans.

Kang was deservedly one of the team’s most popular players when he joined the club in 2015 and made a big splash as an MLB rookie on a team that was headed for a 98-win season.

In 2016, a lot of that changed. The Pirates struggled after an infamously poor offseason and Kang had issues on and off the field.

In July, he was accused of sexual assault and investigated by the Chicago Police Department stemming from an incident in his hotel room in mid-June. Kang allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted a 23-year-old woman that he connected with on a social dating app.

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