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.
John Altobelli was the coach of the Orange Coast College baseball team in Califorinia. He was well known in and around Major League Baseball having worked with and mentored several men who went on to big league careers. There was an excellent profile of him recently at The Athletic.
Altobelli was also a friend of Kobe Bryant’s, and his daughter Alyssa, like Bryant’s daughter Gianna, were members of the Mamba Sports Academy. John and Alyssa Altobelli were, unfortunately, traveling with the Bryants and others to a basketball tournament when their helicopter crashed killing all nine on board.
At Bryant’s memorial service in Los Angeles yesterday, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said that he was texting with Bryant minutes before Bryant’s death. During the flight, it seems, Bryant reached out Pelinka to see whether he knew “a certain baseball agent in Southern California,” because he wanted help Altobelli’s other daughter, sixteen-year-old Lexi, find an internship with one.
Today the Los Angeles Times reports that that “certain baseball agent” was Scott Boras and that, yes, he has stepped in to offer Lexi Altobelli an internship. Lexi Altobelli will rotate through marketing, baseball operations, sports science and office administration among other areas of Boras Corp.
Nice move, Scott.