Erik Bedard leaves start in second inning with back spasms

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Stop me if you’ve heard this story before: Erik Bedard has been pitching well for his new team, but an injury forced him from a start and now his health status is uncertain.

In the 2012 version of that seemingly annual occurrence Bedard signed with the Pirates as a free agent and posted a 2.65 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 34 innings through six starts, but had to leave yesterday’s game in the second inning due to back spasms.

Here’s how Bedard explained the injury to Tom Singer of MLB.com:

It just locked up on me. You can’t move. It wasn’t as bad as the last time it happened. I’ll take some muscle relaxers, and should be better in a couple of days.

“The last time it happened” was 2008, when Bedard was pitching for the Mariners and pitched through back spasms with quite a bit of success before being shut down for the season in July with a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery.

In the three following seasons Bedard started a total of 39 games (with a 3.39 ERA), so the Pirates knew what they were getting into with a one-year, $4.5 million deal. They were probably just hoping he’d last more than six weeks in the rotation, particularly considering how good he’s looked in between injuries.

Yasiel Puig was late to a workout on Monday, so Dave Roberts benched him

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Earlier, Craig wrote about how Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is back in manager Dave Roberts’ doghouse once again. Puig didn’t slide into second base when he was caught stealing to end Saturday’s game, which irked Roberts.

Puig didn’t earn himself any brownie points on Monday as he was late to a team workout and was benched as a result, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Roberts said, “That was a decision he made, not me.” Roberts added that he was disappointed in Puig, though he did note that the former All-Star’s behavior has been improved for most of the season.

Puig, 26, has had a solid season, batting .259/.339/.474 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 554 plate appearances. While he hasn’t provided value on the same level as Justin Turner or Corey Seager, he’s been a valuable part of the lineup which makes this drama all the more unfortunate with just a week and a half before the start of the NLDS.

MLB, MLBPA grant Pirates exemption for Jung Ho Kang to participate in Dominican Winter League

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates were granted an exemption by Major League Baseball and the players’ union which will allow infielder Jung Ho Kang to participate in the Dominican Winter League without being removed from the restricted list.

Kang, 30, has been denied a visa by the Department of State as a result of his third DUI in South Korea last September. Kang was also under investigation in 2015 for alleged sexual assault.

Kang is under contract through the end of 2018 and the Pirates have a club option for the 2019 season as well, so it makes sense they would try to get him into some type of baseball action ahead of next season. The infielder has hit .273/.355/.483 in 837 plate appearances across two seasons in the majors. As Brink notes, Kang has already arrived to the Dominican Republic and will work out with his team, Aguilas Cibaenas, ahead of the start of the season on October 20.