Incredibly enough, Scott Rolen started at third base for the NL All-Star team earlier this month. That may go down as his one good memory from 2011.
Rolen was placed back on the disabled list Friday because of more pain in the left shoulder that’s troubled him for years. Rolen had played in just one game this week, going 1-for-4 against the Pirates on Wednesday. He’s hit .242/.279/.397 with five homers and 36 RBI in 252 at-bats this season.
With Juan Francisco also shelved, the Reds picked Todd Frazier as his replacement. Frazier, 25, was hitting .260/.340/.467 while splitting time between third base, first base and left field for Triple-A Louisville. He had 15 homers and 17 steals, but he had also fanned 82 times in 90 games.
Expect Miguel Cairo to get most of the starts at third base for now. The journeyman utilityman has exceeded expectations once again this year, hitting .288/.353/.410 in 139 at-bats for the Reds.
The Reds probably won’t go looking for a starting third baseman in trade talks, but they would be smart to bring in someone better than Edgar Renteria to help out. Renteria is batting just .232/.306/.278 and the Reds have refused to use him anywhere other than shortstop, where he isn’t an asset any longer anyway.
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.