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Pirates’ Kang reinstated from restricted list, optioned

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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.

For the second straight year, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer match up as All-Star Game starters

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For the second year in a row, the All-Star Game will feature a starting pitching matchup of Chris Sale vs. Max Scherzer. The two were just announced at a press conference at Nationals Park.

This, in fact, will be Sale’s third straight start of the Midsummer Classic, as he faced off against Johnny Cueto of the National League in 2016. It’s Scherzer’s third start in an All-Star Game overall, as he got the starting nod for the American League back in 2013 against Matt Harvey.

Sale is 10-4 with a 2.23 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 188/31 in 129 inning pitched. He leads the American League in ERA, strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings pitched, with 13.1.

Scherzer is 12-5 with a 2.41 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 182/34 in 134.2 innings pitched. He leads the National League in wins, complete games, shutouts, strikeouts, innings, batters faced, WHIP, hits per nine innings allowed and strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

Because it’s the All-Star Game neither will notch a win, even if one could get a loss. Still, it’s a matchup of the two best pitchers going in 2018 and, with a tip of the cap to Clayton Kershaw, the two best starting pitchers of this era.