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.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.