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Pirates unsure when Jung Ho Kang will report to camp

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Coonelly and the Pirates have issued a statement about Jung Ho Kang's status that essentially confirms Rob Biertempfel's reporting from over the weekend. Due to Kang's DUI trial, the Bucs aren't sure when he'll be in camp.

"We have been staying in close contact with Jung Ho, his representatives and his counsel throughout the process. All have been extremely forthcoming and diligent in their efforts to resolve matters in Korea so that Jung Ho can return in time to participate in the Club's preparation for the 2017 season," says Coonelly.

"Based on our current information, Jung Ho will not be in a position to report to camp by the 17th. According to our communications with his representatives, it is probable that he will have a trial in Korea on the DUI-related charges on February 22. It is not known how long the trial will last or when any sentencing phase that might be necessary would be scheduled.

"We will continue to do whatever we can to assist he and his representatives in their efforts to resolve all necessary matters so that Jung Ho will be able to travel to the United States to prepare for and to play in the 2017 season, but his reporting date remains undetermined. We will provide additional information when we receive further clarity on Jung Ho's ability to report to the Club."

It sounds like it might be awhile until Kang returns. If his stay in Korea stretches past the first couple weeks of March, it's possible his season could begin in Indianapolis as the Pirates prepare him to play in the big leagues. If that happens, David Freese would almost certainly get most of the starts at third base, and Phil Gosselin's spot on the Opening Day roster would be more secure.