Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang was arrested last month after driving under the influence, crashing his car, and fleeing the scene. It was his third such DUI since 2009, which results in immediate revocation of his driver’s license in South Korea.
That hasn’t been the only trouble Kang has gotten into recently. He was investigated him after a sexual assault allegation in July. Needless to say, he doesn’t have the best track record heading into the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
Kim In-sik, the manager of South Korea’s WBC team, is considering removing Kang from his team’s roster due to “the worsening public opinion” of Kang, Yonhap News Agency is reporting. “Kang Jung-ho is a great player, but I’ve started to wonder if it’s worth the trouble taking him to the WBC. Personally, I am leaning toward taking Kang off the roster,” Kim said.
If Kang is indeed removed from the roster, Cardinals reliever Seung-hwan Oh would likely take his spot. Yonhap News Agency notes that Oh was fined in January 2016 by a South Korean court for illegal overseas gambling and would face a 72-game suspension if he were to return to the Korean Baseball Organization. Kim did not add Oh to South Korea’s roster due to public backlash over the right-hander’s gambling issues.
Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.
The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.
When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.
Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.
Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.