30 Seconds to Know: Explaining Tommy John surgery

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We’ve seen a rash of pitchers going down to Tommy John surgery this year. Just last week the foremost practitioner of the dark art of ligament reconstruction surgery — Dr. James Andrews — opined that this increase is due to the fact that young kids are throwing harder and throwing more often than they should be, and by the time the reach the pros, their elbows’ fates have already been sealed.

This is sobering news for anyone trying to build a pitching staff, but it is going to make Tommy John surgery an increasingly common fact of life in the coming years. And, in case you were fuzzy on what it entails, allow me to explain it to you in 30 seconds:

 

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.