Pirates’ Kang Jung-ho has 3-hit game in Triple-A

June 20, 2018
In this Associated Press file photo from Oct. 1, 2016, Kang Jung-ho of the Pittsburgh Pirates watches his three-run homer against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of their major league regular season game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. (Yonhap)

In this Associated Press file photo from Oct. 1, 2016, Kang Jung-ho of the Pittsburgh Pirates watches his three-run homer against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of their major league regular season game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, June 20 (Yonhap) — Pittsburgh Pirates’ South Korean infielder Kang Jung-ho now has a three-hit game in Triple-A under his belt, as he nears a return to the bigs after missing all of last season with legal problems.

Batting third and playing third base for the Indianapolis Indians, Kang went 3-for-4 with three RBIs against the Norfolk Tides (a Baltimore Orioles’ affiliate) at Victory Field in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Tuesday (local time). The Indians prevailed 4-2 thanks to Kang’s first three-hit effort in Triple-A.

Kang is now batting .269 (7-for-26) with four RBIs.

Kang began his major league comeback bid in Advanced A ball at the start of June, after acquiring his U.S. work visa in April. He missed all of last season following a DUI-related conviction in March 2017 that resulted in a suspended jail term.

In light of the sentencing, the Pirates placed Kang on the restricted list, which is for players who are unable to play for non-injury reasons, such as arrests or family matters. Kang wasn’t being paid or earning major league service time while on that list.

But the Pirates reinstated Kang last Friday and placed him on their 40-man roster.

Against the Tides, Kang had a single in his first at-bat in the first inning and grounded out to shortstop in the third.

Then with the Indians down 1-0 with one out in the sixth, Kang drove in the tying run with a single to right field.

In the eighth, with the Indians nursing a 2-1 lead, Kang knocked in two insurance runs with a single up the middle.

Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington said last weekend that he won’t let Kang’s Triple-A numbers determine the player’s readiness to play in the majors.

“We are going to be need to be really careful that it’s not results-driven,” Huntington was quoted as saying by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “He might hit .400 but might not show he’s ready. It’s unlikely. But he might hit .150 and show us he is ready. So in small samples, the numbers can be misleading. We would love to have a healthy and productive Jung Ho Kang back on this major league team, because if that player comes back, he’s going to help us win games.”

Kang finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2015 after batting .287 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs in 126 games. The following year, the South Korean had 21 homers and 62 RBIs, with a .255 batting average in 103 games. He is the first position player to jump from the KBO to the big leagues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>