After missing all of 2017 due to legal issues, Jung-ho Kang will play for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2018. Kang will be activated Friday, and will play in the team’s final series of the season against the Cincinnati Reds.
The 31-year-old Kang was cleared to return to the United States in April and has played 16 games in the Pirates’ minor-league system this season, hitting .310/.408/.517 in 71 plate appearances. Kang missed the entire 2017 season after he was arrested for his third DUI in Korea. The country would not issue Kang a work issue due to the arrest.
With his return, Kang will play his first major-league game since the 2016 season. After returning from a knee injury that May, Kang hit .255/.354/.513, with 21 home runs, over 370 plate appearances. He was accused of sexual assault in June, but the investigation stalled after police had a tough time getting in touch with the victim. Kang was not charged with a crime.
Kang has a $5.5 million club option for the 2019 season. If the team doesn’t pick up the option, Kang would be a free agent this winter.
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