One of the saddest moments of the season was Angels hitting coach Don Baylor fracturing his femur while catching Vladimir Guerrero’s ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day.
It was a gruesome injury and only now, nearly three months later, is Baylor ready to return to work. He was back in the Angels’ dugout as their full-time hitting coach last night and Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that “no restrictions were placed on Baylor.”
Well, except for one little thing:
They told me to stay out of fights–the doctor said don’t be charging anyone. I told him, “I can’t really promise you that.”
In his absence assistant hitting coach Dave Hansen took on the primary gig and the Angels are third among AL teams in runs scored and OPS. And the 64-year-old Baylor spent his time off text messaging with players, which he’d never really done before.
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.