Twins open Target Field with college game

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The Twins opened brand new Target Field Saturday with a college game between the University of Minnesota and Louisiana Tech.

More than 37,757 showed up to take in the new ballpark, which features a massive fire pit in left field and several in-stadium bars and restaurants.  Stuart Groskreutz wrote a review of the place for the Stillwater Gazette last week and there’s a picture of today’s action available on SBNation’s Twinkie Town.

The Twins are hoping the new park, which looks like it could be a real gem, will provide enough revenue to justify the massive eight-year, $184 million contract extension that was handed to catcher Joe Mauer last weekend.  So far, so good. 

“The number one word we heard from people today was, ‘incredible,”‘
Twins spokesperson Kevin Smith told the Associated Press Saturday.

Oh, and for those interested in such things, Louisiana Tech won Saturday’s game 9-1.

Jung Ho Kang granted work visa to re-enter the U.S.

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Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that third baseman Jung Ho Kang has been granted a work visa and will soon rejoin the Pirates. Kang had previously not been allowed to enter the U.S. after he was arrested for his third DUI in Seoul in December 2016.

There was some thought that Kang wouldn’t ever play for the Pirates again, but things have worked out in his favor. It will still likely be a while until he actually appears in a major league game, as he will need to get back into game shape and up to game speed.

Pirates president Frank Coonelly said, “After a lengthy process, we are pleased that Jung Ho has been allowed to re-enter the United States. We are encouraged by the steps that Jung Ho has taken to date and are hopeful that having the games 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.”

The Pirates signed Kang as an international free agent out of South Korea to a four-year, $11 million contract in January 2015. If he were to appear in the majors this season, he would earn a prorated $3 million. He has a club option for next season worth $5.5 million with a $250,000 buyout.