Last December, Pittsburgh Pirates infielder 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.
But while he can’t get over here, the Pirates are not giving up on him, it seems. Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that they’re trying to get him some playing time in the Dominican Winter League.
It’s a sensible move if the Pirates think that Kang will be able to come back to the U.S. to play in 2018 — he hasn’t played baseball of any kind since last season — but it’s hard to see how he’ll get a visa to come here to play. Especially in the current political climate in which visas, especially for those with criminal records, can be expected to be much harder to come by.
Update (12:58 AM ET): Per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Samardzija has been diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle. He’ll be shut down for a week. That’s good news for the Giants, considering the alternatives.
Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.
This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.
Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.