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Report: Chicago police are investigating Jung Ho Kang for a sexual assault allegation


Stacy St. Clair and David Heinzmann of the Chicago Tribune are reporting that Chicago police are investigating Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang over a sexual assault allegation. The Pirates were in Chicago to face the Cubs between June 17 and 19 last month. The incident allegedly took place after the game on the 17th.

[Content note: The following contains the description of the alleged assault.]

The police say Kang met a woman in Chicago through Bumble, which is a dating app that pairs users based on location, but the catch is that only women can start the conversation. Kang invited the woman to his hotel room in an upper-scale part of Chicago. The woman claims Kang served her an alcoholic drink, which caused her to black out 15 to 20 minutes later. Kang allegedly sexually assaulted her as she drifted in and out of consciousness.

Both the Pirates and Major League Baseball are aware of the situation. Major League Baseball issued a statement which said, “Our understanding is that police in Chicago are investigating this very serious matter. Major League Baseball will monitor the progress of this investigation closely and will respond fully as additional facts emerge.”

Pirates president Frank Coonelly issued this statement:

“We have been made aware of the allegation that has been made against Jung Ho Kang. We take allegations of this type extremely seriously. Pursuant to the Joint MLB/MLBPA Policy on such matters, this matter is exclusively before the Commissioner’s Office at this time. We have and will continue to cooperate fully with the Commissioner’s Office. As a result of the ongoing police investigation, we cannot comment further at this time. We have also advised our staff and our players that they should not comment on the matter either. We all need to be respectful to the police investigation of a very serious allegation.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred has the authority to levy a punishment whether or not Kang is officially charged with a crime by police, as we saw with the Jose Reyes situation.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

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Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.