Wally the Green Monster to take a tour of Japan

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I get a lot of press releases about promotional things, odd events, weird ceremonies, goodwill trips and the like. Most of them are kind of boring. This one is fun:

Red Sox relief pitchers Junichi Tazawa and closer Koji Uehara, who was named the American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player, and Wally the Green Monster will visit Tokyo to share the 2013 Commissioner’s Trophy, presented annually to the World Series Champions, with baseball fans in Japan.

Uehara and Wally will present the World Series trophy and a Red Sox jersey to the Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. Then there will be a reception with U.S. ambassador Caroline Kennedy. Then a fan reception and then a thing at at something I did not know existed: the MLB Café which is “an MLB themed restaurant serving a menu inspired by American ballpark food.”

Hope they have helmet nachos there. I’m never going to a country where I can’t be sure I can get helmet nachos.

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.