The Pirates have placed third baseman Jung Ho Kang on the restricted list a week after he received a suspended prison sentence for his third DUI in seven years in South Korea.
Kang has already missed a month of spring training and is still in his native South Korea, waiting for a visa to travel back to the U.S. There is no timeline for when he’ll able to return. Pirates president Frank Coonelly told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that placing him on the restricted list is “neither a statement of pessimism nor optimism” as it relates to whether or not Kang will be ready for Opening Day, but it’s hard to see it as particularly optimistic.
Being on the restricted list means that Kang will not be paid and will not count toward the team’s 25- or 40-man rosters. While his eight-month prison sentence is suspended for two years and he has no legal requirement to stay in South Korea at this point, his application for a U.S. work visa has already been rejected once this winter. David Freese will likely start the season at third base in his stead.