Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Jung-ho Kang had been planning to play for the South Korea national team in the upcoming World Baseball Classic after being named to the team back in November. But according to the manager of the team, those plans may be changing due to Kang’s off-the-field issues.
Kim In-sik, manager of the South Korean WBC team, spoke to the Yonhap News Agency about Kang’s future with the team, and he wasn’t optimistic.
“Kang Jung-ho is a great player, but I’ve started to wonder if it’s worth the trouble taking him to the WBC (amid falling public opinion),” Kim said. “Personally, I am leaning toward taking Kang off the roster.”
Kang’s falling popularity in South Korea is due to his recent brush with the law. Kang was arrested in Seoul on Dec. 1 for fleeing the scene of a DUI incident, having had an accident with his blood alcohol limit above the South Korean legal limit of .05.
The incident in December wasn’t isolated. That was Kang’s third DUI arrest since 2009, and under South Korea’s “three strikes” law, he could lose his license for two years. Additionally, the December DUI isn’t the only issue Kang has had in his two MLB years. Kang was accused of sexual assault in July and was investigated, though no charges have been filed and no additional information about the case has been made available.
Kim has until February to make a final decision on Kang, which is when WBC rosters need to be finalized. For the Pirates in 2016, Kang hit .255/.354/.513 with 21 home runs.
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