PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- “The Fan Morning Show” is broadcasting live from LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida all week for Pirates Spring Training coverage.
Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington stopped by on Wednesday to offer some perspective on when Jung Ho Kang will be back and to give his general outlook on 2017.
Huntington says that the organization is still waiting for Kang’s work visa so he can come back over to the United States. But, it may no longer be the Korean court system that is holding up the process.
“Unfortunately, this young man put himself in a situation where the Korean government had an influence over when and how he could report and now that that step is through, the next step is the United States government,” said Huntington. “We’re looking forward to proceeding, this not a day by day update, this is one of those situations that’s in the government’s hands and they’ll proceed as they proceed.”
“It’s still the United States government and it’s the United States immigration and its visa and that’s the next step in the process and even when expedited, it still takes some time,” said Huntington.
Huntington is looking for multiple players to play multiple positions to fill the void left by Kang’s potential absence.
“Josh [Harrison] showed that he is a very good defensive third baseman and we want to make sure we’re comfortable with David Freese as a regular third baseman. But at 33, 34, it might be a bit much to ask him to go out there every day for two months,” said Huntington. “Hopefully, all of this is irrelevant and Jung Ho is back and ready to go. We were looking forward to seeing in Jung Ho was going to be a few games at shortstop as Jordy [Mercer] might need a day here and there. We’re looking forward to versatility, Adam Frazier is bouncing all around the infield, Phil Gosselin came in, he can bounce all around the infield, [Alen] Hanson can bounce all around the infield. Josh can play second, can play third, can play right and left and do just fine as he does that.”
Huntington also commented about the price in which the Pirates were able to land Ivan Nova back for and how the rotation shapes up compared to last year.
“We were surprised by the price. Still a significant investment, but we expected given that we had him as the second best starting pitcher on a very thin market, there are sometimes that markets don’t play out the way you anticipate it would. [He’s] a nice addition to our rotation along with a healthy [Gerrit] Cole, Jameson Taillon continuing to grow and develop and then whether it’s [Chad] Kuhl or [Tyler] Glasnow stepping in, or [Steven] Brault or [Trevor] Williams as one of our young guys, or Hutchison gets back to before, we certainly feel better about our depth. We have a lower floor than last year’s group, but we have a much higher ceiling than last year’s group and that’s what’s intriguing too, it’s a much deeper, much more experienced group than we ran out there a year ago,” he said.
You can hear the entire interview with general manager Neal Huntington on “The Fan Morning Show” below: