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Jung-Ho Kang aware of role as 'pioneer'


Here's a terrific interview with Jung-Ho Kang, translated into English. Other than his controversial comments in his press conference before leaving Korea, we haven't heard much from Kang's perspective about his signing with the Pirates, so this is valuable.

"As the first position player to make it here from the KBO, I think I am a pioneer of sorts," Kang said. "I would like to do well here and open up big league opportunities for younger players at home."

Kang is right -- he and Hyun-Jin Ryu will help define how the posting system develops for KBO players. Right now he's a wild card, but as more players come from the KBO, teams will feel more comfortable deciding how much to bid for them. And, of course, if Kang does well, he can help other KBO players get paid later, just as the successes of players like Yasiel Puig are having an effect on contracts for newer Cuban defectors like Rusney Castillo.

Elsewhere, Kang says he would like to play shortstop, although he's open to playing second and third if that's what the Pirates want. He also says he feels the strike zone in the big leagues is bigger than the strike zone in the KBO, although he doesn't feel that will have a dramatic effect on him.