PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington has announced that he does not expect Jung Ho Kang to be ready for Opening Day.
“We’re pretty much there,” GM Neal Huntington said of the deadline when Kang would need to be in camp to play. “The reality is as hard as he’s working, to think that we will be able to get him ready to go in 7-10 days is unrealistic.”
Kang continues to wait for a work visa to get into the United States after being convicted of a third DUI in South Korea.
Huntington said it’s something we could be asking him every day for a long or short time, he just doesn’t know when he will get his visa. He added that it’s an ongoing process and that he needs to see live pitching and get live infield before he will be ready.
“We were able to get David Freese in games March 17 (last year) and we were able to get him ready to go for Opening Day,” Huntington said. “We remain optimistic we will get him here at some point.”
[graphiq id=”85b14lfam1f” title=”Jung-Ho Kang” width=”600″ height=”663″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/85b14lfam1f” link=”http://baseball-players.pointafter.com/l/18654/Jung-Ho-Kang” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]
Huntington said if it takes some time to get Kang to Florida, he feels good about the guys in camp right now.
“While he will be tough to back-fill for, having David Freese be able to go play third base on a regular basis,” Huntington said of his options at third. “Obviously, what Adam Frazier is doing this spring. Hanson is having a nice spring. Gosselin is having a nice spring. We look forward to getting Josh (Harrison) back in here and we’ll fill and go with the 25 guys we have to go north with, and feel good about it.”
Little-used in the World Baseball Classic, the Pirates want to get Harrison some work. They are deciding whether or not to get him a ton of at-bats at Pirate City, or talking to him to see if he prefers to get in major league speed games.
While there is the option of moving Harrison to third, Huntington wants to have a conversation in person with Harrison before making that decision.
“How do we get him ready, first and foremost, offensively,” Huntington said. “He can play defense in his sleep, we’re not all that concerned about that. We want to do everything in our power to get him ready offensively.”