Jhonny Peralta

Jung Ho Kang Pirates

Hot-hitting Jung Ho Kang takes over as Pirates’ shortstop


Jung Ho Kang’s slow start to spring training had a surprising number of people concluding that his big-time production in Korea wouldn’t translate to MLB, but he’s proven them very wrong so far and has now established himself as the Pirates’ starting shortstop.

Kang began the season in a bench role, but he’s hit .299 with two homers, five doubles, and an .823 OPS in 75 plate appearances. Along with Opening Day shortstop Jordy Mercer hitting .176 that convinced manager Clint Hurdle to make Kang the shortstop all weekend.

He signed a four-year, $11 million deal with the Pirates this offseason after hitting .356 with 40 homers and a 1.198 OPS in 117 games last year in Korea. Kang needs to keep putting up big numbers at the plate in order to remain the starter, because Hurdle made it pretty clear that he still views the 28-year-old’s defense skeptically, telling Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

I believe when you look at Jung Ho, the shortstop I’d probably compare him to would be a Jhonny Peralta-type. Jordy has probably more lateral range. They’re both very accurate with their arms. Jordy’s got more experience within this league for positioning. The only way Jung Ho’s going to get it is to continue to get out there and get those reps.

Mercer is a career .254 hitter with a .688 OPS in 325 games, so even if Kang comes back down to earth a bit there’s a good chance he can continue to be the superior offensive player. Hurdle’s ongoing evaluation of his defense figures to play a big role. Whatever the case, that $11 million is looking like a solid investment.

Corey Kluber strikes out 18 batters over eight scoreless innings against the Cardinals

corey kluber getty

Some history happened Wednesday in Cleveland.

Indians right-hander Corey Kluber struck out 18 batters, walked none, and yielded just one hit over eight scoreless innings as the Tribe beat the visiting Cardinals by a score of 2-0. The first (and only) hit for St. Louis came in the top of the seventh inning, when Jhonny Peralta singled up the middle. Kluber was pulled before the ninth with a pitch count of 113.

Cody Allen finished the shutout with a perfect ninth.

Kluber entered play Wednesday with a 5.04 season ERA, but it was only a matter of time before the 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner got going. Some notes on his outing …

Video: The Pirates turned a triple play against the Cardinals

Yadier Molina

The Pirates turned a triple play against the Cardinals in the second inning of Saturday evening’s match-up. In a 0-0 game, starter Vance Worley walked Jhonny Peralta to lead off the frame. Jason Heyward followed up with a double to right field to send Peralta to third base. Yadier Molina then hit a line drive to second baseman Neil Walker, who leaped up and snagged it, then threw to third baseman Jung Ho Kang. Kang thought that the inning was over, and had to be instructed to throw the ball back to second base to complete the triple play.

Check out the play: