Kang Jung-ho may not be ready for next season’s opener

September 18, 2015

Pittsburgh Pirates' Jung Ho Kang, center, is helped off the field by a team trainer, right, and his interpreter after injuring his left leg turning a double play in the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Kang left the game. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Pittsburgh Pirates’ Kang Jung-ho, center, is helped off the field by a team trainer, right, and his interpreter after injuring his left leg turning a double play in the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Kang left the game. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

By Brian Han

The news keeps getting worse for Pittsburgh Pirates rookie shortstop Kang Jung-ho, but the 28-year-old is staying positive throughout the process.

After undergoing knee surgery on Thursday, it was revealed by ESPN that he would need six to eight months for a full recovery. Kang suffered a broken leg and torn knee ligaments following a nasty collision at second base in which Chicago Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan slid into his legs in an unsuccessful attempt to break up the double play.

It was understood early on that he would be out for the rest of the 2015 season, but with the given timeline, he could be out for next year’s spring training and even the beginning of the season.

The Pirates MVP center fielder Andrew McCutchen showed his support on Twitter referring to Kang as his “chingu,” translating to friend in Korean.

The South Korean showed optimism and vowed to come back “stronger and better.”

 

 

 

ESPN Senior Writer Buster Olney wrote a column arguing that the “Kang injury should lead to a change in the rulebook.”

Whether that happens or not does not change the fact that the Pirates are losing one of their best offensive threats and a versatile defender heading into October.

In games that Kang started, the Pirates were 63-40 (.612 winning percentage) with a 4.5 runs scored average. That ratio and average lowered to 24-19 (.558) with 3.8 runs scored per game without him in the lineup according to ESPN.

He led the team with a .310 batting average, .548 slugging percentage and 11 home runs since the All-Star break.

Kang came into Thursday’s game hitting .287/.355/.461 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs in 125 games.

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