Last December, Jung Ho Kang crashed a BMW into a guard rail and fled the scene. He reportedly had a blood alcohol level at 0.084 percent, which was over South Korea’s legal limit of 0.05 percent. It was his third drunk driving offense in Korea and led to an eight month suspended sentence. It also led to him being denied a visa to come to the United States to play baseball.
The visa process is still ongoing but the Pirates seem to be moving on. Yesterday, Pirates GM Neal Huntington said you can “pretty much eliminate the thought” of Kang returning this season. Huntington further acknowledged that Kang’s career with the Pirates may be over.
Kang, 30, hit .273/.355/.483 with 36 home runs and 120 RBI in two seasons in Pittsburgh. That’s good, but the DUI offenses and an investigation into an alleged sexual assault in Chicago in 2016 have cast a cloud over his career. It would be understandable if the Pirates chose to wash their hands of him.
The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.
Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”
Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.
Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.