PITTSBURGH (AP) Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang has been reinstated from the restricted list and optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis after missing last season and the first part of this year because of visa issues.
The 31-year-old Kang was unable to secure a work visa to travel from his native South Korea to the United States after he was arrested for DUI for a third time in December 2016 in Seoul. He received an eight-month suspended prison sentence.
Friday’s move is primarily procedural, since Kang already has played in 11 minor league games. He was cleared to travel to the U.S. on April 27.
Kang went 1 for 15 in his first four games for Indianapolis after batting .417 (10 for 24) in seven games for high Class A Bradenton.
Kang finished third in the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year voting after becoming the first native South Korean position player to make the jump from the Korea Baseball Organization to the major leagues. He hit .287 with 15 homers in 126 games that season, and then .255 with 21 homers in 103 games in 2016.