According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies have informed catcher Ramon Hernandez that he will be designated for assignment. As a result, the club will move forward with Yorvit Torrealba as the backup to young Wilin Rosario.
Hernandez, 36, batted just .217/.247/.353 with five home runs and a .601 OPS in 52 games last season while battling hand and hamstring injuries. He’s owed $3.2 million this season in the final year of his contract.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported earlier this month that multiple teams were trying to trade for Hernandez, so the Rockies will try to find a taker in the next 10 days. While his days as a starting catcher are almost certainly over, Hernandez would be a capable backup option somewhere, especially if the Rockies are picking up a substantial part of the tab.
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.