Wade LeBlanc declines Triple-A assignment, elects to become a free agent

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Former Yankees pitcher Wade LeBlanc has rejected an assignment to Triple-A and has elected to become a free agent, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. The Yankees had designated LeBlanc for assignment on Wednesday to make room for David Huff on the roster.

LeBlanc, 29, allowed two runs on two hits, a walk, and a hit batter in an inning of work in his only appearance for the Yankees at the major league level. The lefty began the season with the Angels, posting a 3.69 ERA with a 43/14 K/BB ratio in 53 2/3 innings with Triple-A Salt Lake. He also made only one appearance for the Angels, allowing four runs over 6 1/3 innings in a start against the Athletics on May 30. The Angels designated him for assignment the next day, and the Yankees selected him off of waivers on June 3.

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.