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Jung Ho Kang active for final series of season


The Pirates announced that infielder Jung Ho Kang will be activated for the final three games of the regular season against the Reds in Cincinnati this weekend.

Kang, 31, has been out of action since 2016. In December 2016, he was arrested for driving under the influence and fleeing the scene of a one-car accident. It was Kang’s third DUI since 2009. Kang had also been investigated by Chicago police during the summer in 2016 for alleged sexual assault.

Kang is under contract for the remainder of the season and will get the prorated portion of his $3 million salary. The Pirates have a $5.5 million club option for next season with a $250,000 buyout.

If the Pirates planned to buy him out next year rather than pick up the club option, it wouldn’t make much sense to activate him for three meaningless games at the end of the season. The club may be trying to find out if he can be relied on next year. Infielders Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer aren’t expected to be with the team next year. Kang could help fill those gaps. In 16 minor league games at High-A Bradenton and Triple-A Indianapolis, Kang hit an aggregate .310/.408/.517 with three homers and 16 RBI. He hit the Single-A pitching (1.406 OPS) but struggled against Triple-A competition (.572 OPS). Kang underwent a debridement procedure on his left wrist in August which was expected to be season-ending.

The Pirates’ decision to activate Kang and their potential decision to pick up the club option won’t be without controversy. Some fans will understandably not be pleased that an alleged abuser with three DUI’s has been brought back into the fold. The Pirates, though, are likely only considering the fact that he could be a productive infielder for the relatively cheap price of $5.5 million.

Indians send down Clevinger, Plesac after virus blunder

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CLEVELAND — After hearing Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac explain their actions, the Cleveland Indians sent the pitchers to their alternate training site on Friday after the two broke team rules and Major League Baseball coronavirus protocol last weekend in Chicago.

Clevinger and Plesac drove to Detroit separately with their baseball equipment on Thursday for an “open forum” meeting at the team’s hotel before the Indians opened a series with the Tigers.

Indians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti said following “the discussion” that he met with manager Terry Francona, general manager Mike Chernoff and decided it was best to option Plesac and Clevinger to the alternate training site instead of allowing them to rejoin the team.

“We had a chance to meet as small group and decided this would be the best path of action for us,” Antonetti said.

So before the opener, the Indians activated Clevinger and Plesac from the restricted list and optioned them to Lake County.

It’s a stunning slide for the right-handers and close friends, both considered important pieces for the Indians. There’s no indication when they may be back on Cleveland’s roster. They’ll have to be at Lake County for at least 10 days.

Last weekend, the pitchers broke the team’s code of conduct implemented during the pandemic by leaving the team hotel and having dinner and socializing with friends of Plesac’s and risking contracting the virus.

While the Indians got a car service to take Plesac back to Cleveland, Clevinger flew home with the team after not telling the Indians he had been out with his teammate.

Although both players have twice tested negative for COVID-19 this week, the Indians aren’t ready to have them back.

Earlier this week, pitcher Adam Plutko said he felt betrayed.

“They hurt us bad,” Plutko said after Cleveland’s lost 7-1 to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. “They lied to us. They sat here in front of you guys and publicly said things that they didn’t follow through on.”

Antonetti was asked if there are still hard feeling in the clubhouse toward the pair.

“We’re all a family,” Antonetti said. “We spend a lot of time together. Sometimes there are challenges in families you have to work through. I’d use that analogy as it applies here. There are things that have happened over the course of the last week that have been less than ideal and people have some thoughts and feelings about that.”

Both Clevinger and Plesac issued apologies in the days after their missteps. However, on Thursday, the 25-year-old Plesac posted a six-minute video on Instagram in which he acknowledged breaking team curfew but then aimed blame at the media, saying he and Clevinger were being inaccurately portrayed as “bad people.”

Antonetti said he watched the video.

“I’m not sure Zach was able to convey what he intended to convey in the video after having a chance to speak with him afterwards,” he said. “I think if he had a do-over, he may have said things a bit differently.”

Francona also felt Plesac could have chosen a better way to handle the aftermath.

“I was disappointed,” he said.