PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Following his sentencing in a DUI case in his native South Korea, Pittsburgh Pirates star Jung Ho Kang faces several more steps before he can rejoin the team, which is ready to welcome him back and get him on the right track.
In a South Korean courtroom, Kang listened as a judge sentenced him to eight months in jail for fleeing the scene of a drunken driving incident in Seoul last December.
But, then, the judge suspended the sentence for two years.
It’s the final chance the Pirates’ young third baseman asked for, but if the international baseball star runs into trouble in the next two years, he’ll face those eight months behind bars.
Pirates President Frank Coonelly says the court was a first step.
“There are a number of issues that need to be resolved before Jung Ho can return to the United States,” said Coonelly.
The biggest is his visa, because under President Trump’s new tougher rules, DUI is cause for rejection, as well as deportation. But immigration lawyers KDKA spoke with believe Kang will probably get special treatment.
Coonelly, in an interview on KDKA Radio, said the team has lawyers working on the issue.
“To try to help Jung Ho to travel to the United States, get back with the team, get re-acclimated with the team, and to live up to the commitments that he’s made in the treatment program that Major League Baseball has put forward for him and that he has accepted,” Coonelly said.
Coonelly says Kang has made some serious mistakes, but he will find help in the comradery of the Pirates family.
“We can put our arms around him and help him to become the young man and the baseball player we know he can be to turn his life around,” Coonelly said.