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Jung Ho Kang to enter alcohol treatment program

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang will enter an alcohol treatment program following his drunk driving arrest in December of last year. Kang’s agent, Alan Nero, said the program had been recommended to the 29-year-old following a joint panel evaluation.

Kang was arrested in South Korea after crashing his car while intoxicated. It was his third DUI since 2009. Brink notes that while neither MLB nor the Pirates have issued a formal punishment for the infielder yet, he was removed from South Korea’s World Baseball Classic roster and Seoul police were reportedly seeking an indictment against him in January.

According to stipulations set forth in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, participation in an alcohol treatment program could help ease whatever punishment Kang faces in 2017. It’s not clear yet whether the arrest will affect his visa eligibility when he tries to return for the 2017 season, though Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington expects that Kang will report to spring training later this month.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.