Pirates infielder Jung-ho Kang had his appeal over the sentencing of a DUI charge denied Thursday, according to Jee-ho Yoo of Yonhap News. As a result, Kang faces a suspended eight-month prison sentence in his native South Korea.
The suspended sentence, according to Yoo, means Kang will not have to serve time if he avoids trouble for the next two years.
Today’s news surely jeopardizes Kang’s return to Major League Baseball, even though his original sentence was suspended for two years. Kang has been unable to leave South Korea this season after being denied a work visa, and has been on the restricted list all year.
Kang, 30, was arrested for his third DUI in South Korea over the winter and subsequently sentenced. He was hoping for his punishment to be reduced to a fine, but instead will serve jail time.
Kang is one of three key Pirates contributors to miss time this season due to unexpected off-the-field issues; outfielder Starling Marte was suspended 80 games for a positive PED test and righty Jameson Taillon is on the shelf after undergoing surgery for testicular cancer. These losses have at least partially led to the Bucs’ 17-23 start, potentially leading them to shop key veterans like Gerrit Cole, Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen at the trade deadline in July.