An appeals hearing will be held next month for the beleaguered Pittsburgh Pirates’ infielder Kang Jung-ho following his drunk driving conviction, legal sources said Tuesday.
The trial will take place on May 25 at Seoul Central District Court, according to the sources.
On March 3, Kang received an eight-month sentence, which was suspended for two years, for leaving the scene of a drunk driving accident in Seoul last December. The court decision followed Kang’s third DUI arrest in South Korea, and his driver’s license has since been revoked.
Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Kang Jung-ho arrives at the Seoul Central District Court to attend a verdict hearing on his DUI charges. (Yonhap)
Kang, who had filed for a US work permit prior to the court ruling, had his application rejected by the US Embassy in Seoul.
The suspended jail term means Kang will avoid actual prison time if he stays out of trouble over the next two years, but he quickly decided to appeal the ruling.
While waiting for legal proceedings to resume, Kang has been training on his own in South Korea. The Pirates have placed him on the restricted list, which is for players who are unable to play for non-injury reasons, such as arrests or family matters. Kang will not be paid or earn major league service time while on this list.
In the meantime, the Pirates have shipped a pitching machine to South Korea, hoping to help Kang’s training away from the club and make sure he will be ready to hit the ground running when he returns to the majors.
Kang enjoyed an All-Star career as a hard-hitting shortstop for the Nexen Heroes in the Korea Baseball Organization for several years before joining the Pirates for the 2015 season. He finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting that year after batting .287 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs in 126 games. Last year, the South Korean launched 21 homers with 62 RBIs, along with a .255 batting average in 103 games.
Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle has been in touch with Kang through his interpreter, H.K. Kim, who is working with the player in South Korea, and Hurdle said he still hopes to see Kang back in the lineup this year. (Yonhap)