2017 World Baseball Classic: DUI arrests could keep Jung Ho Kang off Korea roster – CBSSports.com
Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang has been a productive player during his two seasons in America — he’s hit .273/.355/.483 with 36 home runs while finding permanent residence at third base. Yet his on-the-field value has failed to overshadow his increasing number of off-the-field missteps.
Earlier this winter, Kang was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. That came just months after he was questioned for sexual assault (though charges have not been brought against him). While MLB and the Pirates have yet to sanction Kang, it looks like his troubles could result in a different kind of punishment — namely being removed from the South Korean World Baseball Classic roster.
Here’s the details, courtesy of ESPN:
South Korea manager Kim In-sik told Yonhap News Agency on Monday that he is likely to cut Kang after public opinion against him ratcheted up when it became known this was his third DUI since 2009.
“He is a great player, but I’ve started to wonder if it’s worth the trouble taking him to the WBC,” Kim told Yonhap. “Personally, I am leaning toward taking Kang off the roster.”
The WBC is about two months away from starting, so we’ll find out sooner than later if Kim is using the media to pressure Kang into improved behavior. Of course, based on Kang’s history, it doesn’t seem likely to stick, no matter the intent.
Kang is expected to open the season as the Pirates’ starting third baseman all the same. He’s under contract through the 2018 season, with Pittsburgh holding on an option on his services for 2019.