In what has to be the strangest piece of news in a long time, Jung-Ho Kang reportedly has secured a work visa and will resume his Pirates career.
Breaking: 3B Jung Ho Kang has been granted US work visa and plans to soon rejoin #Pirates. Details momentarily, only in @TheAthleticPGH— Rob Biertempfel (@RobBiertempfel) April 26, 2018
I don’t know whether this is really great news or not, at least in the short term. Kang played winter ball this past off-season and was terrible to an absolutely unreal degree, to the point where his team let him go. The circumstances weren’t exactly ideal, but it does raise the question of just what the Pirates can expect from him. There’s also the question of where he’ll play, but I doubt that will be resolved any time soon. He’ll undoubtedly need a lengthy rehab stretch in AAA. He’s under contract through this season, plus a 2019 team option.
One thing that could still resurface is the potential for discipline, from either MLB or the Pirates, over the alleged sexual assault incident in Chicago. I have no idea whether the fact that the police investigation stalled will mean no sanctions, but the issue, from the baseball standpoint, was left unresolved.
UPDATE: I should add that it’s really important to hear something from the Pirates on this.
AND MORE: Bill Brink has a tweet here with a statement from Frank Coonelly confirming the news and indicating that Kang will indeed rejoin the organization. Looks like it may be a bit before he goes back on the active roster. DG Lewis and Thunder provided some links in the comments on the applicable rules.