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Pirates sign Jung Ho Kang to one-year deal

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have re-signed infielder Jung Ho Kang to a one-year deal. There is no word yet on the money involved.

We do know, however, that it’ll be less than $5.5 million, as that was the amount of the option that the Pirates had on Kang for 2018 but declined at the end of the season. Doing so made sense, of course, as Kang has missed nearly two full years after a DUI arrest in December 2016 led to visa issues keeping him from returning to the United States. He did make it back this past season and rehabbed in the minors for 16 games before an injury cut that short.

The layoff notwithstanding, Kang could certainly feature prominently in the Pirates’ 2018 plans, especially given that they are likely parting ways with infielders Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer. As it is, Kang would seem to fit best at third base, possibly as platoon partner with Colin Moran.

No, the Astros aren’t being targeted for HBPs in spring training

Alex Bregman
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On Wednesday, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was hit by Cardinals pitcher Ramon Santos. It marked the seventh time an Astros batter had been hit in spring training exhibition games thus far, the highest total among all teams. As expected, teams are exacting revenge for the Astros’ cheating ways!

Well, not quite. The pitch Santos hit Bregman with was a 3-2 breaking ball that got away. Usually, if a pitcher is going to hit a batter as an act of revenge, he’ll attempt to do it with a first-pitch fastball.

José Altuve was also hit by a pitch against the Tigers on Sunday. The pitch, which looks to be the off-speed variety, appeared to graze his uniform as opposed to hitting him flush, so it was likely unintentional on the part of pitcher Nick Ramirez.

Other Astros to have been hit in spring training thus far: Alex De Goti, Aledmys Díaz, Osvaldo Duarte, Dustin Garneau, and Jake Meyers. Not exactly a who’s-who list of Code Breaker operatives.

Will some pitchers intentionally throw at the Astros this year? Almost certainly, despite commissioner Rob Manfred’s warning. Have they been doing it from the moment exhibition games began earlier this month? Certainly not.