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.
Jon Heyman has been hot on the free agent trail today, reporting that the Padres have made offers both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. The offer to Machado is believed to be for eight years and about $250 million, while the offer to Harper is believed to be for more than that.
Heyman was reporting on Harper earlier, tweeting that the Phillies are the favorite to sign him. He added this evening that Harper has multiple long-term offers at more than $30 million annually. Regarding Machado, Heyman noted that while Machado was believed to have had a preference for the East coast, he will go for the best deal now, which puts the Padres firmly in the picture.
The Padres reportedly met with Machado last week. A late entrant into the sweepstakes, the club has shown the willingness to spend, signing Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million contract last year. If he goes to San Diego, Machado would be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop.
Nothing appears close, but we’ll take anything resembling a spark to light the hot stove.