Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said today that Jung Ho Kang will be the team’s starting third baseman.
It’s been a long way back for Kang, who 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 made it back for three games last season before an injury cut that short. The Pirates declined his $5.5 million 2019 option over the winter and re-signed him to a one-year deal paying him $3 million. Given that low price tag it’s not a shock that the Pirates decided to go with Kang.
Kang has hit .274/.355/.482 in 232 big league games.
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado entered Monday night’s game against the Nationals sitting on 997 hits for his career spanning seven seasons. Arenado hit an RBI double in the first inning, grounded out in the third, doubled again to lead off the fifth, then hit a solo homer to lead off the seventh, breaking a 5-5 tie. The homer, off of Wander Suero, represented the 1,000th career hit for Arenado.
Arenado now has four homers on the season along with 14 RBI, 15 runs scored, and a .281/.337/.483 batting line. He has recovered nicely after a slow start to the season — he had a .610 OPS following an 0-for-4 game against the Giants on April 13.