KOBO suspends ex-Pirates infielder
Kang for year
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[May 26, 2020]
Free agent infielder Jung Ho
Kang, who played four of the past five years for the Pittsburgh
Pirates, received a one-year suspension from the Korea Baseball
Organization on Monday in connection with three past arrests on
suspicion of drunk driving.
The KBO also demanded that Kang, 33, perform 300 hours of community
service. Both punishments would begin if and when he signs a
contract with a Korean team.
After the ruling was announced, Kang issued a statement that said he
is working to be a better person.
"Over time, I came to realize just how important baseball is to me,"
Kang said. "I took putting on a uniform and getting on the field for
granted, and I was a fool not to see how precious that was. I know I
don't deserve to be saying this, but I would love one final
opportunity to play baseball."
South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported that Kang could have been
banned by the KBO for up three years based on its strict rules
against drunk driving. Kang's DUI cases occurred in August 2009, May
2011 and December 2016, according to the report.
The third case, for which he received a suspended two-year sentence,
wound up keeping Kang out of the entire 2017 season and most of the
2018 season with the Pirates. He was initially unable to get a visa
to return to the United States due to his criminal record.
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Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jung Ho Kang (16) slides across home
plate to score a run against the Chicago Cubs during the second
inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY
Kang broke into the major leagues with the Pirates in 2015, and he
finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting after
hitting .287 with a .355 on-base percentage, a .461 slugging
percentage, 15 homers and 58 RBIs in 126 games.
The next year, he hit .255/.354/.513 with 21 homers and 62 RBIs in
103 games. He went 2-for-6 in three games late in the 2018 season,
then batted .169/.222/.395 with 10 homers and 24 RBIs in 65 games in
Kang began his pro career in the KBO, playing for the Hyundai
Unicorns (2006-07) and the Woori/Nexen Heroes (2008-14).
--Field Level Media
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